Hungry, and with a chip on his shoulder, Fulham today announced the signing of seemingly rejuvenated central midfielder Jamie O’Hara in the worst kept secret in footballing history. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has been training with the Whites for the duration of pre-season, and the official confirmation of the free agent could be a sign of his new-found attitude as he’s ready integrated into the Fulham squad. Blessed with a left foot that contains silky composure, Blackpool took a gamble on O’Hara and gave him an opportunity to play within the manic of the seaside club, of which he succeeded with aplomb registering eight assists despite no pre-season and barely playing for the 12 months previous.
The mess of his Wolves experience was no doubt a lull in his career as he fell out with club supporters, picked up injuries and was left allegedly sleeping on the sofa after the breakdown of his marriage with Danielle Lloyd. Seemingly fully fit, the midfielder displayed glimpses at Blackpool of a want to recalibrate his career with his unmet potential from his early career at Tottenham and loan club Portsmouth. From WhoScored’s statistics, Jamie O’Hara averaged the second highest ‘Key Passes’ per game in the division with 2.7, just 0.1 behind leading man David Cotterill of Birmingham. The eight assists of Jamie O’Hara last season was not only the highest tally of assists in a season for his career to date, but also higher than the likes of Alex Pritchard, Bakary Sako, Henri Lansbury, Will Hughes and Bryan Ruiz to name but a few. The Englishman has variety to his assist record also, a few from set pieces, a few from crosses and a couple from attacking passes showing he’s not just a one-trick dead ball pony.
The former England Under 21 international has always been blessed with wonderful ability with the ball at his feet, many Fulham supporters once labelled O’Hara as a potential successor to Danny Murphy, and I see why there’s no reason that the playmaker can’t be that replacement via a tonne of sideways movement. Best utilised with movement around him, O’Hara loves recycling possession of the football and keeping the focus of the game moving; when you have more obvious offensive talent like Lasse Vigen Christensen and Tom Cairney in the team, it’s always useful to have a composed and comfortable figure on the ball as Fulham will look to dominate more games of football in the coming season.
Jamie O’Hara can certainly be more than the squad depth that many have already noted him for, adding quality and needed competition in a more offensive central midfield position with the impressive Lasse Vigen Christensen and newbie Tom Cairney; we now have three, very talented forward thinking central midfielders when previously having only Christensen influencing the game on one side of a diamond with Ryan Tunnicliffe on the other. I don’t know how we’ll set up next season, but there’s plenty to be enthusiastic about with the signing of Jamie O’Hara being a senior and firm figure in a squad hunting positions in the upper regions of the Championship talent.