Jol hails Diarra quality
Martin Jol says Mahamadou Diarra's footballing ability has never been in doubt despite the Malian being without a club since the summer.
Last Updated: 02/03/12 5:37pm
Fulham manager Martin Jol says Mahamadou Diarra's footballing ability has never been in doubt despite the Malian being without a club since the summer.
The 30-year-old former Real Madrid midfielder has joined the Cottagers on a short-term deal until the end of the season, with an option to extend it for a further year.
Diarra cost a reported £22million when moving to the Bernabeu in 2006 but has not been on the books with any club since leaving Monaco at the end of last season.
But Jol does not think his period of inactivity is a warning sign and says Diarra has nothing left to prove.
"The trick with players like him is not to start telling them they need to prove something, that you need to look at them and invite them over for a couple of weeks," Jol said.
"The trick is to get the information on whether he is fit and that is the information I had. Of course we had a little look him, he wasn't aware of that but we had a little look.
"He has been here for two weeks now, went back to France for his work permit and everything is fine.
"We did not just start looking at him a couple of days ago. It is three weeks ago since I started to contact him when we were on 27 points.
"The main thing is to get enough points. (Steve) Sidwell is out and I was wary about Danny (Murphy) getting an injury - of course he is not 21 and he is playing all those games.
"I thought the main thing was to have enough players and the other thing is that it is always nice to have someone who wants to play here next season.
"That is a big thing as well to get that option and of course he will push players and raise the mentality again in this last final part of the season."
Diarra has won league titles in both Spain and France but suffered relegation from Ligue 1 with Monaco last season.
He has been training with former club Lyon while he was without a club and Jol admits he might be fit enough to make his debut against Wolves on Sunday.
"Somebody tipped me off about him, I gave him a phone call and he said he is quite fit. That is the only thing I needed to know.
"There is always reasons (why a player is without a club). He was a big player and a very good player during Fabio Capello's time at Real Madrid.
"Sometimes a very good player has different views and demands, and he turned down a few smaller clubs than Real Madrid as well.
"I was happy that he didn't turn us down. Maybe he will be involved on Sunday."