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Sarri: Man United have best squad in Premier League

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Maurizio Sarri probably meant this as a compliment to Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.

It is unlikely it will come across that way ahead of United’s trip to Chelsea on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: Key battles, Chelsea v. Man United

The Blues are unbeaten in all competitions under Sarri since he arrived in the summer and they sit joint-top of the Premier League with 20 points on the board after 24 games. Mourinho’s United have 13 points and their struggles have been well documented with the former Chelsea boss reportedly close to losing his job.

Sarri’s suggestion that United have the best squad in the PL may too feed into the narrative that United’s players are woefully underperforming under Mourinho.

“I think they are a very strong team. Maybe player-by-player, they are the best team in the league,” Sarri said. “At the moment City is more of a team, but player-by-player they are very, very strong. We are talking only about eight matches, they are doing well in the Champions League so they can improve in the Premier League, we are talking about two months.”

Okay, so United did finish second last season in the Premier League, so you can kind of understand what he’s getting at, especially with Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and David De Gea in their squad. But maybe he’s suggesting that the team itself just isn’t that solid a unit, which is certainly what we have all seen so far this season as United got off to their worst-ever start to a PL campaign.

Sarri went on to call for the media to show Mourinho more respect, with the Italian coach revealing his admiration for all that United’s manager has achieved in the game.

“We are talking about a coach that has won everything, everywhere, so I think you have to respect him. I think you all have to respect him,” Sarri told journalists.

After Mourinho felt out with Antonio Conte, the manager Sarri replaced at Chelsea, we should probably expect a more jovial greeting between himself and Sarri this Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Sarri has shown he has a sense of humor and his laidback nature is a complete contrast to Antonio Conte’s demeanor on the sidelines.

Mourinho now receives a pretty mixed reaction from the Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge after his second spell in charge of the west London club ended on a sour note, but the fact he’s led them to three of their five PL titles all-time means he will still be lauded by the vast majority of those connected with Chelsea.

“It’s another game,” Mourinho said. “Would I celebrate like crazy if my team score a goal and get a victory, I don’t think so. I will try to control myself and respect my [old] supporters and my [old] stadium. Just that. Another match for me. I want to do well for my club.”

If you ask Sarri, he probably feels that Mourinho and United should be doing much better.

I wonder what Jose thinks about that…

US investors take over Spanish 2nd-division club Reus

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MADRID (AP) American investors are taking over Spanish second-division club Reus, keeping it from being dissolved and dropped from the league.

The club says real estate investment bankers Russell Platt and Clifton Onolfo have purchased 99.7 percent of Reus’ shares.

[ MORE: Barca signs Prince-Boateng ]

Financial details were not immediately released, but local media say the club’s debt has reached 5 million euros ($5.7 million).

The statement by Reus on Monday says the new group plans to build an 18,000-capacity stadium and an entertainment complex.

The club says Platt was a founder of Morgan Stanley Real Estate, while Onolfo was a former owner of the Connecticut Wolves, a team which used to play in the United Soccer League.

The takeover will allow Reus to keep playing in the second division and avoid the immediate risk of extinction. Last month, players demanded out of their contracts because they hadn’t been paid in months.

The new owners will have to show the club from near Barcelona is in compliance with rules by the Spanish league and other stakeholders.

Reus’ match against Las Palmas on Saturday was suspended because of the team’s situation.

The Catalan club is 20th in the 22-team second-division standings.

Among the players affected by Reus’ situation was young United States defender Shaq Moore, who was playing on a loan from Levante. He returned to Levante this month.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Juve wins again, AC Milan cruises while waiting on Higuain replacement

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Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty, but that didn’t stop Juventus from taking another step toward another scudetto.

Paulo Dybala assisted two goals as Juve kept its unbeaten Serie A season in tact with a 3-0 win over Chievo Verona on Monday.

[ MORE: Barca signs Prince-Boateng ]

Douglas Costa, Emre Can, and Daniele Rugani scored as Juventus stayed nine points clear of second place Napoli.

It was one of two Serie A matches on Monday, with AC Milan winning the other to pull back ahead of AS Roma and into fourth place.

Suso and Fabio Borini netted as Milan won 2-0 at Genoa with Gonzalo Higuain out of the 18 ahead of a reported move to Chelsea. Higuain is reportedly waiting for Milan to find his replacement, and the club hopes it’ll be Krzysztof Piatek.

Genoa’s general director Giorgio Perinetti has told Italian radio a meeting over Poland international Piatek, 23, will take place after today’s game and a conclusion is expected one way or another within 48 hours.

Both Juve and Milan face tests next weekend, with the leaders off to Lazio and Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan tangling with Napoli at the San Siro.

Bojan Krkic again linked with move to Major League Soccer

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Bojan Krkic‘s disappointing 2018-19 season may be switching venues.

Stoke City’s Spanish 28-year-old has started just three matches in the Championship this season, scoring one goal amongst his 13 appearances.

[ MORE: Barca signs Prince-Boateng ]

Multiple reports say that the New England Revolution is actively pursuing a big money contract for Bojan, a reported target of Brad Friedel‘s since the summer.

Last season was also a poor one for Bojan, who did not score on loan at Alaves in La Liga.

Bojan is three seasons removed from scoring seven times for Stoke City in the Premier League, and produced similar numbers earlier in his career at Barcelona and Roma.

The move represents a significant risk for the penny-pinching Revs. While his pedigree suggests he’d be a sure thing for success in Major League Soccer, his recent struggles say otherwise.

Prince-Boateng seals surprise loan move to Barcelona

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Kevin Prince-Boateng is moving from Sassuolo to Barcelona on loan with an option to buy for the Catalan giants.

The move is a big surprise, bringing the well-traveled 31-year-old midfielder to his 10th club.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Prince-Boateng has four goals and two assists in 13 Serie A appearances for Sassuolo, and has 15 caps for Ghana (though he has not represented the Black Stars since their scandalous 2014 World Cup).

He’ll have plenty of chances to impress Ernesto Valverde in the next few weeks, with Luis Suarez the only other true center forward on the roster. Valverde has used Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, or Munir El Haddadi in that role when Suarez has been unavailable.

He has spent two stints at AC Milan, as well as time with Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, and Hertha Berlin.