Earlier this week, a colleague of mine stated that Tottenham should have the determining say in whether or not Jamie O’Hara, currently out on loan at relegated Portsmouth, should have been allowed to feature in this weekend’s FA Cup final, after sources revealed that featuring in the showpiece could have aggravated a double stress fracture in the midfielder’s back.
Unsurprisingly, such talk regarding Mr. Danielle Lloyd has served to reignite the subject of the midfielder’s future. Speaking of Mr O’Hara (and on-loan team-mates Robbie Keane and Alan Hutton) earlier this month, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told The Mirror that, “They will come back and all three players have a part to play next season.” Given Spurs’ need for strength in depth as they prepare to tackle Champions League football, it seems apparent that Harry Redknapp wants the boyhood Spurs fan to remain in his squad next season. However the versatile midfielder, who can play across the midfield and at left-back, has publicly stated that he does not wish to feature as a back-up player next season, fuelling rumours that he will exit White Hart Lane this summer. Would this departure represent the best move for both parties concerned?
Making just 29 starts for Spurs over the past three seasons, O’Hara has evidently become accustomed to first-team football after 25 appearances for Portsmouth during their ill-fated fight against relegation last term. His hardworking, devoted performances at Fratton Park led to the midfielder being voted as the club’s player of the year by no less than nine different supporters’ groups. The relegated side’s well-documented financial difficulties preclude the possibility of a permanent transfer down south, meaning that the midfielder will definitely return to White Hart Lane at the end of his loan spell.
Realising the wealth of talented midfielders already established within Harry Redknapp’s squad, O’Hara told The Guardian that, “There are already five or six great central midfield players at Spurs and the manager may bring some more in. Spurs have done fantastically this year so it is going to be difficult for me to get in the team. I will just have to sit down with Harry and see what he wants to do with me, whether he wants to offload me to somewhere else or if he wants to keep me. I have tasted first-team football now and I would not want to go back to sitting on the bench and playing one match in six. You can’t just come in and have one game in six if you want to play at the top level. I have come to Portsmouth and had a great season personally, so hopefully this can be a stepping stone to go on to better things.”
Whilst most Spurs fans will admit that O’Hara is not good enough to dislodge the likes of Luka Modrić, Tom Huddlestone and Gareth Bale, they will probably sympathise with a player too good to sit on the bench. 24 this year, O’Hara can no longer be termed as one for the future, and it may be sensible for Redknapp to mercifully release a player clearly unhappy at the prospect of sporadic outings for the Lilywhites next term. Whilst O’Hara has reconciled with manager Harry Redknapp after controversial comments before and during his parent club’s semi-final clash with his loan side, many Spurs fans may not be willing to forgive the player for such a vocal display of disloyalty.
Promoted side Newcastle United have already been heavily linked with the 23-year-old. This switch seems all the more feasible when considering the impending departure of veteran Nicky Butt and the fact that Toon manager Chris Hughton has a good relationship with the player dating back to O’Hara’s Tottenham academy days. There will be plenty of players willing to join Spurs this summer, even in a backup capacity, so it would make sense for the club to sell a player who is likely to have no shortage of suitors. A parting of the ways between player and club may represent the best move for both parties concerned.
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