Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has again set his sights on French defender Phillipe Mexes.
The 27-year-old central defender was on the Old Trafford radar during his time at Auxerre, with Manchester United reportedly making a bid for the player back in 2003.
Now a stalwart of the Roma defence, Mexes is yet to sign a new contract in the Eternal City and would be allowed to leave the club on a free in 2011.
Sensing an opportunity to sign a highly-rated player in a position that has caused the Red Devils some injury problems this season, Ferguson is believed to be looking into the possibility of a summer switch.
February speculation stated that Juventus were interested in a move for Mexes, but now fresh media reports in the Italian press state that United are interested in bringing the defender to the Premier League.
A star in Ligue 1 after making his AJ Auxerre debut in 1999, the defender spent five years with the French club before making the €7million to the Stadio Olimpico.
After several appearances for the U18 and U21 sides, Mexes earned his first French call-up back in 2002. He has 13 caps to his name for Les Bleus.
A €16 million release clause negotiated into his 2007 contract means that Mexes is prone to a potential bid, although an offer in the region of £12 million would be difficult for former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri to turn down.
With constant reports suggesting Nemanja Vidic is heading for an Old Trafford exit, Mexes would be the ideal replacement should the Serbian centre back make the anticipated move to Spain.
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