Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is open to extending Frank Lampard's loan deal at the club beyond January – a situation that would see him return to Stamford Bridge in City blue.
Lampard, 36, was not offered a new contract at Stamford Bridge in the summer after 13 years at the club and opted to sign a deal with Major League Soccer newcomers New York City.
The veteran midfielder made a hasty return to these shores, though, signing a loan deal with the Premier League champions until January and scored a dramatic equaliser against his former club on 21 September.
With the new MLS campaign not beginning until March, Pellegrini has suggested Lampard could stay at the Etihad longer than planned – a prospect that could see him return to west London as a City player in the reverse league fixture on 31 January.
When asked whether the club would try to extend Lampard's deal at the Etihad Stadium, Pellegrini told a press conference: "I can't answer that at the moment," ahead of his side's League Cup third round clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
"Frank will stay until January because until January he doesn't have anything to do in the United States because they are not working. In January we will see what is happening and we will make a decision then.
"It is not a problem in this moment."
City's ownership of half of New York City's rights suggests an extended deal for Lampard is entirely possible given the clubs' shared interests.
MLS clubs have also traditionally allowed their players to join Premier League clubs in January on two-month deals in order for them to get their fitness up ahead of the new campaign. Robbie Keane swapped Los Angeles for Birmingham in the opening months of 2012, joining Aston Villa on a temporary deal, while Clint Dempsey returned to Fulham in a similar deal last year.
Although they agreed a deal with Tottenham Hotspur in early January, Toronto FC also allowed Jermain Defoe to remain in north London until the end of February earlier this year, before completing his move to the MLS side.