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ARGUABLY the best young defender in Europe, Phillipe Mexes, has been told by Roma that he will not be moving to the Giallorossi - despite the player's insistence that the Italian capital is his preferred transfer destination.

The phenomenal talent of Auxerre stopper Mexes is beyond doubt and his ability has not gone unnoticed with Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus all making frequent trips to the South of France.

However, Mexes has always stated his desire to move to the Stadio Olimpico when he leaves Auxerre.

At the end of October the youngster, who has just celebrated his first call-up to the French Under-21 squad, reiterated his desire to link-up with Roma.

"I want to play in Rome, they are the team of my dreams and I hope that I can fulfil my desire," said Mexes, who stated as early as January that Roma was his preference.

But, sports director Franco Baldini has revealed that Roma will not be pursuing their initial interest in the player.

"We have followed him for a long time, but it is not a transfer for us," said Baldini.

"We have watched the player for the last thee years and we have spoken with Auxerre.

"Mexes interests us, but because of his talent, the transfer should have been done some years ago when it would have cost us a low fee.

"Auxerre decided not to sell for now, but when he does leave I don't know how much he will cost."

Mexes' agent Oliver Jouanneaux also reaffirmed his client's intent on moving to Italy with Roma, but he spoke before Baldini's comments.

"Roma were the first club to show an interest and Baldini has seen him play at least 20 times now," said his agent.

"One thing is for sure, Phillipe wants to play for a great European club and he has recently been looking at the possibility of playing in England. He has met [Sir Alex] Ferguson and he told him he'd really like to have him at Manchester United.

"But Phillipe thinks that the Italian league would be perfect for him. He will make the decision, but his choice will not be influenced by money."