Mexes favours Roma switch

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ROMA will challenge Arsenal for the signature of Auxerre star Philippe Mexes, and the France international has admitted the thought of playing in Serie A appeals.

Arsenal had looked in pole position to sign the young centre-back, who is rated as one of the best up-and-coming defenders in the world.

However, Roma are desperate to bring in some big name signings this summer, and Mexes was quoted in La Gazzetta that he finds the prospect exciting.

"The idea of playing with Roma really attracts me," said Mexes, who has also stated his desire to play in The Premiership.

"I know many thins about the club from talking to my French team-mate Olivier Dacourt.

"I know the management are interested in me and I can't pretend I am not excited by the possibility.

"Yes, in my heart I have a sensation and a hope, that I can come and play with Roma."

Mexes is currently on international duty with France in the Confederations Cup, but his future is still shrouded in controversy with contract problems at Auxerre rumbling on.

The player sealed a new contract with the club to remain until 2006, but Auxerre tore up the deal when they found that the player's agent had inserted clauses that had not been discussed.

A hearing will decide if the player is now a free-agent, although this outcome seems unlikely.