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Totti Today #93: Free Philou

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Roma's quest for defenders goes a long way: Defenders from England, Spain and France are being monitored by the club. But let's take a closer look at a familair face from Italy. Former Roman and Milan defender Philippe Mexes. Ow, and did I mention he's free?

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N'Koulou from France, Zabaleta from England, Vermaelen from Spain, Benatia from Germany... Roma's hungry for defenders around Europe ever since Rüdiger got injured and Castan loaned out while Gyomber is just being, well, Gyomber. There's a big hole in the centreback department, especially if Spalletti is planning a 3-5-2 tactic.

While we'd need at least one quality addition ala Benatia or Vermaelen, Sabatini also needs to play it smart. After all, the new financial rules bother Roma and they can't afford to throw cash at a player like a Chelsea, United or Barcelona. Zabaleta may come to Rome on a cheap but if there's a free player from one of Europe's top leagues, it's worth to take a look at.

Among one of those free players this Summer is a certain Philippe Mexes. The Frenchman and Roma share a lot of history. 'Philou' played more than 180 games for us in a span of 7 years, winning 2 Coppe Italia and inbetween he grew a profound love for tattoos in the neck area and bizarre hair cuts (which were in fact awesome, admit it). Mexes and Juan, Mexes and Burdisso, Mexes and Chivu... Between 2004 and 2011 he was omnipresent in Roma's backbone. Sure, at times he was a walking red card and who can forget his tears during Roma-Sampdoria in which Pazzini scored twice and practically gave the Scudetto to Inter and not the Giallorosso, after a formidable 2009-2010 campaign under Ranieri.

Now, after a not so succesful spell at Milan (only one Supercoppa) and a very disappointing hattrick in Serie A (eight, tenth and seventh place since 2013), Phillipe leaves AC Milan at the age of 34. He's not the youngest anymore and this move would be like 10% smart and 90% nostalgia. But how big is the risk anyway if he comes free of charge and with an acceptable salary? Mexes has been in Serie A since 2004 and knows it inside out. His passion and love for Roma never really vanished after 2011. Another plus is the current coach. Spalletti worked with Mexes during Luciano's first tenure, from start until finish.

Of coure, combining Manolas with Mexes would be suicide, a type like Benatia would be a better fit. But as a sub and mentor for the young guns on the team, why not? Name me another non-Roman who put in so much effort for the team and badge. Name me one non-Roman who was so quickly admired and appreciated by the fans. Name me one player you saw crying on the pitch like Sexy Mexy did. Those were no fake tears. Yes, he has his flaws, yes he's crazy, but that was exactly why we all loved him. Kinda like Cassano. Tonetto, Cassetti, Mancini or Vucinic were not perfect either but they all left their mark in the Olimpico those days.

A smart piece of business, and a move which could also be interpreted as a make-up between the management and the fans. Philou could be a bit rusty though as he only played a hanful of games last season. Perhaps a deal of one year with an option for a second one if he proves he still has some gas left in the tank. I see no harm in that. Like I said earlier, minimize the risk of this move.

About two weeks ago, Philippe himself already stated he'd like a reunion with Spalletti in Rome. All it needs is a quick call from the club to arrange a meeting. I'm sure someone in Trigoria still has his number. In the past, Roma has gambled a lot on certain players, one more gamble wouldn't hurt. It's time to bring him home and witness Totti's last ever season.

For me, Mexes' tears never really dried up. Instead they flowed towards the Tiber, waiting for the return of their creator. Make it happen Walter. Make us crazy again.