23 thoughts on “Diarra signs for Fulham

  1. Basically it is all on Diarra. He has 4 months to prove he is still premier league quality and that he will add to the team.

    Fulham have almost nothing to lose, because if he can re-find his previous form for Lyon and Madrid, we have a potentially world class player in midfield, helping to balance the team between defence and attack

    1. Exactly, it seems a great bit of business. Though obviously its far from certain that he will succeed.

      According to posters on TIFF he suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2008 and hasn’t been the same since. On wikipedia it says that after that Real brought in Xabi Alonso and he lost his place. It’s possible that a combination of knee injury and lack of opportunity has lead him to slipping out of people’s minds. Also possible, given that he moved to Monaco (a rich club), that he had high wage demands that no one would take on and that those have gone down. So, given the distance from his knee injury, there may be reason to be hopeful.

      One further possibility springs to mind, however. He is apparently 30, but has been playing first-team football since 1998. That means he’s been playing since he was 16. It is possible, given where he comes from, that he’s older than he says he is, or that he is simply knackered.

      1. Just to add to this, there was a discussion of this on TIFF which lead me to comparing Diarra and Murphy’s careers. They are remarkably similar.

        Assuming Diarra’s listed age is correct, both players started out playing first team football aged 16. Both players came to us aged 30 for free. Both had played a lot of football. Including internationals, Murphy had played 506 games of professional football, while Diarra has played 452. Both had rarely played the last three seasons: Murphy had made only 50 appearances for Charlton and Spurs his previous three seasons, Diarra has made 37 for Real and Monaco. And both, frankly, were considered washed up. Let’s hope history repeats itself here.

        1. Saw your comments and am now slightly more excited than before!

          I am not expecting Diarra to blow my socks off, but with virtually no risk on this signing I am looking forward to seeing if he can have a positive effect.

          In terms of his positioning, he could definitely be a Makelele style centre mid, with Murphy and Dembele playing in front of him, or even Dembele and Sidwell in a 4-3-3. Exciting times.

          1. And just to add, being a Makelele style centre mid does not simply mean sitting in front of the defence, Makelele was instrumental in building attacks through positive passing, acting as the platform for the likes of Duff, Lampard, Gudjohnsen and others at Chelsea to work off.

              1. They might not be, but if the results follow, they will eventually shut up.

                Plus, this time next year you could be doing the “Etuhu Defence” for Diarra, which is always an enjoyable read.

  2. I expect to see him eased into the side. Wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t even in the squad for the next game. I don’t know that much about him myself. Is he a good passer of the ball, or should I say was he in the past?

  3. Though hardly his clone, today’s Murphy is deployed more like Diarra than formerly, and his responsibility for killer passing is starting to be shared more too. If Diarra is more than a shadow of his former self, we’ll certainly want more than 15 league appearances, but split with Danny it needn’t to be much more. Hard to arrange things quite that way of course.

    1. Exactly, how I look at it. If you look at Scholes and Giggs at ManU, eventually they had to take a step back and sit some games out. They can start 20-25 games and be really good for the team. If they started them all they wouldn’t be. As you say, Murphy is playing ever deeper, especially now that Dembele is playing alongside him (and long may that continue given how brilliant he’s been the last two games!), so Diarra and Murphy can share the position and the sum of the two players could make us a better team overall.

      I’ve read many comments about the type of player that Diarra is, indicating that he is just a shield player, like Etuhu. But I’m not convinced that players of his pedigree can be pigeonholed so easily. It seems that many experienced players who have played for top teams have much more in their locker, and often can be turned into deep-lying playmakers. When he was in France, Makalele was a right-sided attacking midfielder, much like Murphy was before he came to us. Dwight Yorke was a striker but ended up playing for Sunderland as a deeplying playmaker. Scholes and Giggs perform completely different (less energetic) roles for Man U than they used to. And, going the other way, Yaya Toure was nothing more than a shield type player for Barcelona, but now is a essentially an attacking midfielder for Man City.

      These are just random examples, of course, but my point is that you don’t become a key player in the midfield for successful Champions League team like Lyon and Real Madrid by just being a defensive midfielder who plays simple passes. There are likely to be Murphy-like qualities there that we can harvest, if he is fit and still even two-thirds the player he used to be.

      1. You’re right that people shouldn’t put him in the defensive midfielder/water carrier slot.

        He’s a do-it-all type of central midfielder who was a great player in his day. He got a long-term injury at Madrid and ended up getting lost in the shuffle which happens at big clubs. Remember, Madrid went through a new manager each year back then and the new boss would bring in his own signings. Mourinho tried to work him into the mix last season, but there just wasn’t a consistent role for him and he couldn’t get match fit.

        I just hope that he’s fit. If he is, this could be a tremendous signing for us.

    1. Olivier Dacourt? Well, in concept maybe, but not in quality. Dacourt never came close to being what Diarra was when he was at his peak for Lyon and Real and Dacourt was four years older. This has the potential to be absolutely huge. Or he could be a bust, and we’re only out a little bit of money. In that, it seems more like the Pogrebnyak deal, than the Dacourt one (i.e. higher upside, same level of risk). I’m really impressed with how we’re approaching transfers these days.

      1. yep, we want to get young quality players in but in the meantime need people who can contribute now but who won’t still be here when they’re no good. So very, very clever dealings.

        1. I actually see Pogrebnyak and Diarra as part of the effort to make the squad younger. Doing that doesn’t mean going with under 23 players. It means getting players in younger than the ones they replace. Pogrebnyak has three years on Zamora and Diarra four on Murphy. Signing them makes us younger while filling positions that are played more effectively by experienced players.

          Positions for the really young players: full-back, winger/attacking midfielder, pacey support striker.

          Positions for experienced players: centre back, goalkeeper, defensive midfielder/playmaker, fulcrum centre forward.

          1. Interesting generalities in those last two paras. Never thought of it quite like that before, but makes sense. Also agree with you and others re. Sidwell.

      1. Where he belongs. Never been a fan. Really never been a fan of any “box-to-box” midfielder that most fans seem to think absolutely key. When I read “box-to-box” I think, “headless chicken.”

    2. The Sidwell question is an interesting one. Obviously he is currently injured, but I am not sure how well he will fit into the team next year.

      Sidwell is neither fish nor fowl – not a defensive midfielder but not an attacking/creative midfielder. Maybe he would work better with Diarra sitting and Sidwell offering a shuttling role and energy in the middle.

      Or maybe Jol might ship Sidwell on in the summer. Watch this space.

  4. As a Barça supporter, I can tell that we were happy when he was on RM squad. He was a rude player, but not at all a passing one. Poor technical skills. The RM signed him as a new Makelele, and a year after was desperate to sold him. The OL made a great bussiness with, selling him for 25.
    Hope I’m wrong, but I think he will do a Gudjohnsen.

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