Manchester City ended 2014 by announcing that Frank Lampard will stay with them until the end of the season.
City had been waiting on news of the 36-year-old's future, with the midfielder having been on a short-term deal which was due to expire on New Year's Day when he would officially become a player of New York City - the Premier League champions' sister club.
But owing to the former Chelsea player's excellent performances and City's presence in the race for the Premier and Champions League, the club have been keen to keep him beyond the agreed date. And, with three hours of the year left, City announced the news in a short statement on their official website.
It read: "Manchester City can confirm that it has extended Frank Lampard's contract up to the end of Manchester City's season, enabling his continued participation in both domestic and European campaigns."
Consequently, Lampard will be available to face Sunderland at the Etihad on Thursday. Manager Manuel Pellegrini has been consistent in his praise of Lampard and was quizzed about his future at his press conference on Wednesday, where he again stressed the player's importance to his side.
Frank is a star and it is no surprise that Manchester City is rewarded by his contributions on the field every single day.
New York City's Claudio Reyna
He said: "He is in the squad list for tomorrow. He can play tomorrow. I said during December we will know what happens with the future of Frank Lampard. It is important for him to stay with us. Today we finish December. I hope today we will have news."
Lampard's stay has added value with Yaya Toure set to go to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, while City are also light on proven scorers with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko both out injured. Lampard has made a big impact at City since joining the club in August, ostensibly to maintain fitness ahead of the 2015 Major League Soccer season, which begins in March. The former Chelsea star has scored six goals in 17 appearances for the club, although he has only started three Premier League games.
New York have given the move their blessing. Director of Football for New York City FC Claudio Reyna said on their official website: "Frank is a star and it is no surprise that Manchester City is rewarded by his contributions on the field every single day. He is eager to get to New York once his commitment ends in England and will be available to play on arrival as a permanent member of the squad given he will come to us having played at the highest level.
"We are all committed to making sure we build a winning team and that our fans get to enjoy great soccer at every single game. The opportunities open in the immediate transfer window combined with our recent successful draft ensure that we can continue to assemble a world class team that will make New York City soccer fans proud."