Manager Martin Jol will give long-term absentee Mahamadou Diarra a chance to prove his fitness and earn a new deal at the Club, even after his contract expires this summer.
The Mali international has been out for the whole of 2013 after undergoing an operation on his left knee and has played only eight games this season. But Jol has insisted that Fulham will give him every chance to get back into contention.
“Diarra had an operation and feels that it could be two or three months [until he returns],” Jol said. “Realistically it could be more, but he is out of contract, as you know, and we will give him the opportunity to prove himself fitness-wise. We will still treat him as long as it is necessary.
“We did it with [Zdenek] Grygera. He was here and we paid for his accommodation, for example, and a few other little bits despite the fact he was out of contract. It is not that we will pay his full wages because I don’t know if he will play again, because it was quite a big operation, but he had the same operation on his other leg and he said ‘My other leg is stronger than ever before and that will be the same with my left leg’, so he feels very confident.”
Diarra, who played for Real Madrid for five years, will stay at the Club over the summer to continue his rehabilitation and the Manager clearly has faith in the midfielder.
“The only thing that we can assure you is that we will give him a chance to prove himself,” Jol added. “It is our duty to look after him – and it is the law as well – even when he is out of contract. We will give him the opportunity to stay here and have his treatment. He feels it might be two or three months [before his return], but then he is very positive.
“He is a top player and has had quite a few injuries, so hopefully he will be back to full fitness and if he does then he will have a good chance that we will try to keep him for the next six months.”