It's not yet clear whether the former Real Madrid midfielder will make the final squad for Mali for the African competition to be held in South Africa, but Martin Jol knows he will need to strengthen in the next transfer window to try to replace Diarra if he is selected.
"We’ll look to strengthen the squad because if Diarra goes I can do nothing about it,” Jol told reporters.
"As it is now he will go to the African Nations Cup. He was so good for me last year because a lot of older players left the club. He changed the dressing room."
Fulham are on a bad run of form, picking up just one win in their last 10 games, and that was way back at the end of October against Aston Villa in a 1-0 win. However, Jol put the collective form of the team aside to discuss the importance of a player like Diarra.
|SHUTTING THEM OUT|
|9/4||Fulham are 9/4 with William Hill to keep a clean sheet away to QPR next weekend|
"I can remember him when he was 18 he was a revelation. He started in Crete and then came to Holland with Vitesse," Jol added.
"There won’t be a lot of players in Europe who will stay at Real Madrid for five years so that is how good he is. It was a gamble because he was 30 so it’s important to keep him fit."
The Cottagers face QPR and Southampton in their December fixture list, and will be hoping to get themselves back into the top 10, even without Bryan Ruiz who has been ruled out through injury until the New Year.