Is Obika a short term solution?
I seem to recall a few years ago, many Spurs fans hailing Johathan Obika one of our golden generation and someone who had a great future at White Hart Lane.
Yesterday, I actually asked whether Obika would have achieved less in terms of goals and assists than Emmanuel Adebayor this season and though Jon has yet to match the inflated expectation's of a few season's ago, I wonder if he is a player that could and should benefit from Adebayor's absence for a few weeks even if that benefit is a promotion to the bench as emergency cover for Jermain Defoe?
As has often been the case, Obika is scoring plenty for the U-21s (including two more yesterday) and since his early scoring form on loan at Yeovil, he has found hitting the net harder, you have to ask if that is more about the quality of supply or certainly in one or two loans, he has either been played in a wider role (Yeovil Part II) or as cover (Millwall). As is often the case, being great or terrible on a loan is no guarantee of future success or failure.
At Twenty-two, Obika is perhaps at a cross-roads in his career and though he can still be regarded as an U-21 for this season, that changes from August, therefore you assume he will be loaned, moved on or be in limbo. Too old for the development teams unless he plays as an over aged player and perhaps not considered good enough for the first team. Could this be considered a final chance, should he get it?
I quite like Obika from what I have seen of him over the last few seasons. he appears quick, energetic and reasonably strong at around the six foot mark and certainly in the younger ages, has a good eye for goal. Question is whether he has that extra gear to push from impressive junior to good enough senior, especially when that senior is in the Premier league.
Perhaps Spurs need to be realistic in the medium term and accept there is a need for four strikers, but getting two more in quick succession is difficult and comes with potential problems. Obika knows the club, knows what is expected and may well be worth considering as a 3rd/4th option, at least for the time that Adebayor is away.
It may well be the case that Defoe plays a blinder and we use him in every game, but equally we could see him limp out of training between now and Sunday afternoon. Clint Dempsey is the obvious back up, but what next, Bale or Sigurdsson? At least in having Obika at a managers disposal, we have a player who is a natural No9 and not one that can fill in for emergencies. Should he get given the chance and he does well, would there there be a logic to retain him as a regular squad option, at least for the rest of this season. At least that covers a position, should we not manage to sign anyone in the next two weeks.
Obika may well prove not to be good enough, but equally he may be one of any number of players that simply lacks the opportunity to prove he can shine. To date, other youngsters such as Livermore, Carroll, Falque, Mason and Townsend have all shown they are not out of their depth and even though they all are still to prove their worth as regular team picks, you wouldn't be horrified to see any one of them selected should they be required. Is Obika the next to get his chance?..