Fulham signing Mahamadou Diarra has nothing to prove says Martin Jol


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The Independent Football

Fulham manager Martin Jol does not believe new boy Mahamadou Diarra has anything to prove despite being without a club since last summer.

The 30-year-old former Real Madrid midfielder joined the Cottagers earlier this week, penning a deal until the end of the season with an option of extending it by a further year.

Diarra once cost a reported £22m but has been without a club since leaving Monaco in the summer.

The Malian is hoping to resurrect his career in the Barclays Premier League, and Jol said. "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.

"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 comes to the west London club boasting an impressive CV, having won league titles in both Spain and France.

Things did not go quite as well at Monaco as he failed to stop the principality club from slipping out of Ligue 1 last season.

Diarra has been training with former club Lyon in the meantime and Jol admits he could hand him 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," the Dutchman said. "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."

Diarra could link up in central midfield with Fulham captain Murphy this weekend, who Jol revealed today he is holding contract talks with.

"He told me a couple of days ago that every year is the same with him," he added.

"Every year they will tell him maybe you won't play next season and every year he is playing again.

"I think he is fit, his endurance is very good, his stats are very good and maybe he can play another year."