With Slovenian international Robert Koren set to sign on as the club’s international marquee - as revealed exclusively this week - the writing was on the wall.
There is almost no more room at the inn for what will be Melbourne City’s first season since being rebranded from Melbourne Heart.
A-League teams can sign up to five foreign players and City now officially has three on its books - Damien Duff, Rob Wielaert and Jonatan Germano - and most likely a fourth on the way in Koren.
It’s unclear whether or not the club intends to fill the fifth visa spot, but if it does so that player will be paid inside the league’s $2.55m salary cap.
It also appears increasingly likely that Villa - uncategorised by Melbourne at this point - will become a guest player after all, which will permit him to play 10 games before returning to New York around Christmas time for that club’s inaugural pre-season campaign.
Frank Lampard participates in a clinic with young players after he was introduced as a member of the MLS expansion club New York City FC.Source: AP
A-League teams are able to bring in one guest player - who represents a high promotional value to the league - per season.
His wages are not included in the salary cap, nor Bayern Munich jersey 2015
does he take up a foreign player spot.
The City Group announced in May last year it was behind the formation of New York City FC, before rocking the Australian football landscape with its $11m takeover of Melbourne Heart in January.
Lampard, 36, has signed a two-year deal to become New York’s second of three “designated players” - essentially the American league’s version of A-League marquees.
But just what he will do between now and the start of New York City’s pre-season in January remains unclear.
Frank Lampard participates in a clinic with young players after he was introduced as a member of the Manchester United jersey 2015
MLS expansion club New York City FC.Source: AP
Speaking in the United States on Thursday (US time), New York City FC sporting director Claudio Reyna simply said the club is “exploring a few options”.
Lampard - Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals in 13 years at Stamford Bridge - said the move across the Atlantic made sense for he and his family.
“Why not choose New York City,” he said.
“It’s a very exciting challenge for me in life terms. I’ve seen a real long-term plan and I wanted to be part of that. I want to test myself, I want to carry on challenging myself.
“I had a fantastic 13 years with Chelsea that I can look back with pride upon. It was a good time for myself and Chelsea that I moved on.”