New York City FC was only founded 15 months ago and isn’t set to join the MLS until the 2015/2016 season. The football club is 20% owned by Yankee Global Enterprises and 80% owned by City Football Group, who also own Manchester City.
Since the creation of the football club, New York City FC have acquired six players, with two of their most notable players being Englishman Frank Lampard and Spaniard David Villa. With the money available for the football club thanks to their wealthy owners and the quality of the players they have already brought in, New York City FC will be looking to have an immediate impact on the MLS and possibly change the landscape of the league. Some people may say thanks to their wealth, they have already bought an MLS title.
Until New York City FC joins the MLS for its inaugural season in March 2015, Lampard has gone on loan to Manchester City whilst Villa has gone on loan to Melbourne City FC, also owned by the City Football Group. The Australian side is yet to begin their season but the Spaniard is predicted to set the league alight. On the other hand, Lampard has already demonstrated he is still a quality player after scoring the equalizer in City’s 1-1 home draw against his former club, Chelsea, in the Premier League.
If that isn’t enough to satisfy you, maybe you should know that Lampard is the highest scoring midfielder in the Premier League from the 2009/10 onwards with a total of 65 goals. These goals would have mostly occurred thanks to Lampard’s characteristics of taking long shots and being excellent at direct free kicks. Lampard averaged 40.2 passes per game and also had a pass success percentage of 82.4% during his last season at Chelsea. He also averaged 1.3 key passes per game. New York City FC manager Jason Kreis will be hoping Lampard can replicate or increase these statistics in the MLS.
Villa finished last season as Atletico Madrid’s second top scorer, with 13 goals from 36 La Liga games. He was outshone by attacking partner and fellow Spaniard Diego Costa, who is now at Chelsea, but Villa’s contribution shouldn’t be understated. He averaged around 2.1 shots per game and has the characteristics of being a good finisher and playing through balls. He has won basically every top competition available including the World Cup, European Championship, Champions League, La Liga, and the Copa Del Rey, and he is also Spain national team’s all-time leading top goal scorer with 56 goals.
Villa should have a similar impact to the MLS as Robbie Keane. In his first full season (2012) following the Irishman’s moved from Tottenham Hotspur to LA Galaxy in 2011, Keane scored 16 goals from 28 league games. Villa is a much better finishing than Keane as proven by the goals he scored last season in La Liga for Atletico Madrid. Villa is still good enough to play for many European teams.
Could we see more clubs in the Premier League owning or partly owning teams in the MLS in the future? The MLS is fast developing into a league for older players to continue to play, but also as a league that is producing some great players, so I think we will see more clubs in the Premier League owning or partly owning teams in the MLS in the future for that reason.
Some people, such as Arsenal manager Arsene Wegner, have questioned if the loan of Lampard to City is in line with Financial Fair Play rules. Some believe they have bent the rules to meet the five home grown players they are required to have in their restricted 21-man Champions League squad. UEFA rules state Lampard’s loan move falls inside the Financial Fair Play rules provided City pay the midfielder’s wages, which they insist they do. Although Manchester City, New York City and Melbourne City are all owned by City Football Group, they are run as standalone businesses but some believe New York City FC is helping City by loaning out Lampard to them and bending the rules.
We could therefore also see more Premier League clubs owning or partly owning teams in the MLS in the future in order to try to get around the Financial Fair Play rules.