Jamie O’Hara has been the bright light in what has been a dismal season for Portsmouth, with the ever-changing ownership, going into administration, unpaid wages, managerial sackings, winding-up orders and another great FA Cup run as some of the storylines in the Fratton Park soap opera this season. But with Pompey unable to sign O’Hara on a permanent deal in the summer because of a small matter of being £119 million in debt, where does his future lie – is it at White Hart Lane or another club?
O’Hara has clearly been Pompey’s best player this season, as a big fish in a small pond so to speak, scoring 3 goals and providing 6 assists in 27 games for the club. His passing, tenacity and dead-ball skills have been utilised and he has shown what he can do when he plays on a regular basis. The 23 year old has stated that he is not prepared to sit on the Tottenham bench next season and said in January:
“The long term is something I’m going to have to sit down and talk about at the end of the season; I went back to Tottenham and wasn’t really involved, so maybe I have to move on… Sometimes you have to move on as a younger English player to further your career.”
Last week, West Ham were linked with a £5 million move for O’Hara and the likes of Sunderland, Newcastle, Bolton, Aston Villa and Wolves have all registered their interest in the former England Under 21 international. The question is: does O’Hara still have a future at Spurs or should they sell him to the highest bidder?
With Spurs in pole position to secure Champions League football next season and at the very least, Europa League football, they will need a bigger squad if they want to compete next season and establish themselves permanently in the top four. O’Hara’s versatility could be a valuable asset for the squad, as he can play at left back, left midfield and in the middle of the park. The 23 year old could fill in if players get injured and he has the quality to be a good impact player for Tottenham next season. O’Hara could be the player that every top club needs: a utility man that can fill in anywhere, like a Spurs version of John O’Shea. Seeing as O’Hara signed a four year deal last August, Harry Redknapp must rate him or there would be no need to reward him with a new contract.
The problems facing O’Hara are the amount of competition already in the Tottenham squad. They already have Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left back, Bale, Modric, Krancjar and Danny Rose who can play left midfield and Palacios, Huddlestone and Jenas at centre midfield. With Sandro arriving from Internacional in the summer and other signings that could be made, where does O’Hara fit in?
O’Hara cannot have endeared himself to Spurs fans with his comments before the FA Cup semi-final clash with Portsmouth this month. O’Hara, who was acting as a pundit for the game, said he wanted Portsmouth to beat Spurs in the game:
“I want Spurs fans to know how much feel for the club, but I’ve got to be professional. I’m playing for Portsmouth and want Portsmouth to win and get to the final because that’s the club I’m at.”
I can understand that O’Hara wants to play in a FA Cup Final and at Wembley, but it’s not the sort of thing you say if Spurs are paying your wages and you are supposed to going back there next season. O’Hara has said he does not want to just sit on the bench at Spurs next season, but it’s hard to see how he will start ahead of the likes of Modric, Palacios, Huddlestone or Bale for Tottenham.
O’Hara’s spell at Tottenham has put him in the shop window and proved what he can do if he plays on a regular basis. I don’t think figures of £5 million is enough to tempt Tottenham to sell the midfielder, but if a club can offer around the £8 million mark, we could see O’Hara at a different club next season. What do you think – does O’Hara still have a future at Spurs or should he be sold to the highest bidder?
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