An appearance on Soccer AM can signal only one of two things for a current footballer; an injury, or they have fallen out of favour with their respective club. Unfortunately for Jamie O’Hara, he seems to fall in both categories. Appearing on Saturday’s show with fiancé Danielle Lloyd and his new son Archie, one couldn’t help but think fatherhood is a welcome distraction for 24 year-old O’Hara.
Seemingly a huge part of Tottenham’s future when Harry Redknapp took the reins at White Hart Lane in late 2008, midfielder O’Hara has since struggled in north London and was loaned to Portsmouth last season. When O’Hara returned to Spurs at the beginning of the 2010-11 season he found the club in a very different position from when he left 9 months earlier, not least that Europe’s top club competition was returning to White Hart Lane for the first time in half a century. Whilst determined to make an impact in a very competitive squad, O’Hara’s chances of playing in Europe’s premier competition had a severe setback when it was revealed he would have to undergo surgery for a stress fracture in his lower back.
When Redknapp’s tenure at Tottenham began, O’Hara could do no wrong as Spurs attempted to rectify the mess Juande Ramos had left them in with the club on 2 points from 8 games at the beginning of the 2008-09 season. The young midfielder made 28 appearances that season including 15 in the league, scoring a memorable goal to wrap up victory in a 2-0 win over east London rivals West Ham at Upton Park. However, although Redknapp and the club clearly rated O’Hara, offering him a contract to keep him at the club until 2013, he was loaned out to Redknapp’s former club Portsmouth for most of the 2009-10 season, making only 3 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham.
Although impressing on an individual level in Portsmouth’s ill-fated 2009-10 season, O’Hara’s absence coincided with a resurgence at Spurs and the indomitable central midfield pairing of Wilson Palacios and Tom Huddlestone emerging at the north London club. Having achieved a lucrative place in the Champions League, Redknapp will most probably use the money at his disposal, bolstering his squad in January, hoping for an assault on two fronts. With the transfer window drawing ever closer, O’Hara’s window of opportunity to prove his fitness and worth to the club narrows evermore.
O’Hara’s problem lies in the distraction of the Champions League for the club and its supporters, and with the north London outfit looking like they are regaining the form of last season in the league, there are not many bemoaning the absence of the 24 year-old at White Hart Lane.
So with the transfer window opening in a little over two months Jamie O’Hara may well not only be looking over his shoulders at who’s coming into White Hart Lane, but also looking for an escape route, and with the news coming from east London this week that West Ham United and O’Hara’s former boss Avram Grant are preparing a bid for the midfielder in January, O’Hara would be ill-advised not to consider his ex-employer’s proposal.