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Pellegrini: Lampard an important player for City

ESPN staff
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Frank Lampard spent 13 years at Chelsea © Getty Images
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Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will be an "important" player for Manchester City after joining the Premier League champions on loan, according to manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Lampard signed for City's sister outfit New York City FC this summer, ending 13 trophy-laden years at Chelsea.

With the 2015 Major League Soccer season not starting until the spring, there was speculation that Lampard would head to Melbourne City, the third club owned by the City Football Group, on a short-term deal.

Following City's friendly against Olympiakos in Minneapolis on Saturday, Pellegrini confirmed the 36 year old will now move to the Etihad before the next American season begins in March.

"As you know, Frank has signed a contract with New York City and will start working here [the United States] in January as the season starts in March," Pellegrini said.

"From next Wednesday he will start working with our team and will play for us until then. At the moment he will work with the squad and be a member of the squad. He will fight for a position.

"He knows we have a very good team, we have a lot of players in his position. He is one player more. We have a lot of games, particularly with the Champions League - so he's very important for our team."

Manchester City are scheduled to face Chelsea on September 21 in the Premier League. Asked about Lampard facing his former club, Pellegrini said, "I will talk about those things with him."

Lampard will join Fernando, Bacary Sagna and Willy Caballero as new arrivals at the Etihad over the summer as City attempt to defend the title they narrowly won ahead of Liverpool last term. A successful defence could hand Lampard a fourth Premier League crown to go with the Champions League, Europa League, four FA Cups and two League Cups he won at Stamford Bridge.

Spaniard David Villa has been New York City FC's other high-profile signing ahead of their MLS debut next year and he has also been loaned out within the City system, moving to Melbourne City to maintain his fitness ahead of the American season. Short-term loan deals from the MLS have become relatively commonplace with Thierry Henry rejoining Arsenal, Landon Donovan having spells at Everton, Clint Dempsey returning to Fulham and David Beckham turning out for AC Milan in recent seasons.

Pellegrini weighed up City's pre-season tour of the US, in which they beat Sporting Kansas City and AC Milan but lost to both Liverpool and Olympiakos on penalties, while flying back and forth from the East Coast to the Midwest.

"It's been extremely useful and the team's been very professional, like in the first half against Liverpool," Pellegrini said. "The positives will be the quality of these games and the level that was achieved in each of these games.

"The negatives will be the travelling distances, and that obviously stops the team from training more."

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