Tommy Oar would rather be at Ipswich Town than Athletic Bilbao

New Ipswich Town signing Tommy Oar

New Ipswich Town signing Tommy Oar - Credit: EMPICS Sport

He’d rather be a Blue than a Basque.

Tommy Oar is glad that a move to Spanish giants Athletic Bilbao fell through because it meant he could seal the ‘perfect’ switch to Ipswich Town.

The 23-year-old Australian winger penned a two-year deal at Portman Road recently having been the subject of a great deal of interest from across Europe, the Middle East and Asia following his decision to walk away from Dutch side Utrecht.

At one stage he was all set to sign for Spanish Super Cup champions Bilbao – a club that only recruits players born and raised locally or with distinct links to the Basque region – but the club’s president pulled the plug on the deal.

“My grandparents on my father’s side have Basque heritage,” Oar told Ipswich Player. “For a few weeks I was hopeful that it would happen but it didn’t go ahead because of the club’s policy. It didn’t work out and now I’m here in Ipswich and I think things have worked out for the better.”


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Bilbao finished seventh in La Liga last season and beat Barcelona to claim the Spanish Super Cup, while Ipswich finished sixth in the Championship and lost in the play-off semi-finals.

Oar, however, sees Suffolk as the ideal place for him to continue his development following five years in Holland.

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“I had a few chats with Mick McCarthy, we were both really honest, and I just got a really good feel about this place speaking to him,” said the left-sided wideman, who has drawn inevitable comparisons with former Aussie international Harry Kewell.

“This is clearly a club with ambition and, for sure, we can get to the Premier League this season.

“I grew up in Australia watching English football and seeing Australians do well over here. England was always my main focus and, having done my research, this was the perfect move for me.”

The former Brisbane Roar man, who is currently away on international duty, added: “I really improved a lot as a player during my five years with Utrecht and I’m hoping I can showcase that at Ipswich.”

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