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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Premiership lures Auxerre stars
By Andrew Fraser

Djibril Cisse celebrates with the French Cup
Cisse wants a move to Liverpool
Auxerre coach Guy Roux will have little time to savour the latest triumph of his 42-year association with the French club.

In the coming weeks the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool are expected to beat a path to his door on a mission to prise away star players Djibril Cisse, Philippe Mexes and Jean-Alain Boumsong.

The scale of Roux's plight was made clear in the run-up to the French Cup final on Saturday when striker Cisse made it clear that he wanted to be a Liverpool player next season.

And with the dust still settling on Auxerre's 2-1 victory over Paris St Germain, centre-back Philippe Mexes said he found his manager's methods stifling and admitted reported interest from Arsenal was "flattering".

Roux, who has been at Auxerre since he joined the club as a player in 1961, has threatened to leave if Cisse or Mexes are sold.

"In football, contracts generally mean nothing - except at Auxerre," Roux said after the cup final. "At our club they bind people.

Djibril Cisse - Liverpool
Philippe Mexes - Arsenal, Liverpool
Jean-Alain Boumsong - Liverpool, Arsenal, Marseille
Khalilou Fadiga - Celtic
Olivier Kapo - Arsenal, PSG

"When we want to get rid of someone and he is under contract, we are obliged to keep him. And when a player wants to leave but he has a contract, then he must stay."

Cisse has admitted that he might be forced to stay for another year if Roux puts his foot down, or if Auxerre cannot agree a fee with Liverpool.

But Auxerre are resigned to the departure of defender Boumsong, who scored the winner against PSG.

Boumsong has joined Mexes and Cisse in the France squad for the Confederations Cup and is believed to be a target for Liverpool, Arsenal and Marseille.

When you leave it's to progress - I'll choose the club where I'll feel the best
Philippe Mexes

Senegal winger Khalilou Fadiga, who has been linked with Celtic, and striker Olivier Kapo, who is keen on a move to Arsenal, have also been told they can leave.

Comments from Mexes in French sports newspaper L'Equipe, meanwhile, make it increasingly likely that he will be on his way.

The 21-year-old criticised Roux's tactic of locking his players away three days before a match.

"In the end you just can't take it but he refuses to change. For him, the club is his family, it's all his life," said Mexes.

And on the Arsenal link, Mexes added: "It's flattering but we'll see. When you leave it's to progress. I'll choose the club where I'll feel the best."

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