The outrageous AI January transfer alternate reality Man Utd, Arsenal & Chelsea fans will love
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It has been a transfer window to bring a whole new meaning to the phrase 'Dry January'. Arid, dull, and shockingly frosty, like nighttime in a desert, the month has rolled by in a perpetual state of glacial limbo, promising much and delivering relatively little.
As we career towards Thursday's 11pm deadline, the most high profile deals completed by Premier League clubs are probably Tottenham Hotspur's double capture of Radu Dragusin and Timo Werner, and West Ham's loan evacuation of midfielder Kalvin Phillips from Manchester City. Beyond that, we're talking maybe Brighton's swoop for Football Manager wunderkind Valentin Barco, or possibly Sheffield United's cunning raid for Ben Brereton Diaz. Genuinely. We've been eating sawdust soup for breakfast, dinner, and tea. There are koi carps who have frozen to death in back garden ponds who have had more fun than English football fans this winter.
But I aim to ensure this never happens again. The January transfer window, like its heftier summer sibling, should be a time of extravagant lunacy, of twists and turns and bombshells. With that in mind, I wanted to come up with a number of pitches as to how the midseason market could be improved, but, naturally, being too bored and/or depressed to do the work myself, I did what all good journalists do in 2024 and asked Artificial Intelligence to do it for me.
And so, allow us to sift through the unhinged genius of our old friend (and future overlord) Chat GPT together. I hope you like clairvoyance...
Transfer Window Auction House
Chat GPT says: 'Turn the transfer window into a live auction event. Clubs bid in real-time for players they want, with an animated auctioneer making the process entertaining.'
A human being with hopes and fears says: A fairly tame, if logistically baffling, suggestion to kick us off, and one that isn't a million miles away from the system used in the IPL, or the drafts of several American sports. The real curveball here is the insistence on a cartoon mascot to run proceedings. Why? And also, where did Chat GPT get the inspiration for this? Has Artificial Intelligence discovered Bullseye reruns? Or worse still, is AI actually just the disembodied consciousness of Jim Bowen converted into a ceaseless stream of binary code, like a Lancastrian Matrix? Stay out of the black and into the red pill.
Chat GPT says: 'Replace traditional negotiations with a panel of animals that predict transfers. Each club has an animal predictor (e.g., a parrot, a chimpanzee) trained to pick between two options representing potential transfers. The chosen option becomes the player the club must pursue. It adds a whimsical and unpredictable touch to the proceedings.'
A human being beset with frequent existential crises says: Paul the Octopus predicted a lot of things, but he never bothered to tell us that one day our jobs would all be made obsolete by a chat bot that can process more ideas in a single second than our poxy brains can in an entire lifetime, did he? Evidently, there are limitations to the divinatory powers of animals. I'm also not sure how 'whimsical' it is to give a horse full control over a club's annual budget. Imagine coming into work one day and finding out you were suddenly unemployed because Red Rum has elected to spend £400 million on Brad Guzan.
Fortune Teller Window
Chat GPT says: 'Hire fortune tellers for each club to predict the success of potential transfers. Clubs must consult their fortune tellers before finalising any deals. It could lead to some clubs making bold moves based on mystical predictions, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and excitement.'
A human whose last Google search was for a 'Nordic Style Waste Paper Bin', whatever that is, says: You are going to start noticing a pattern soon. It seems that Chat GPT is absolutely obsessed with fortune-telling, divination, and phenomena of that ilk. Is it because it is programmed to learn solely from the past, and is therefore inherently incapable of making predictions about the future? Maybe. All I know is, the robots yearn for Psychic Sally.
Chat GPT says: 'Take the transfer window to new heights - literally! Clubs can negotiate with extraterrestrial footballers from different planets. Imagine signing a speedy Martian winger or a goal-scoring Venusian striker. Spacesuits optional!'
A human being who just ate six Scotch pancakes says: First and foremost, I would argue that spacesuits are not optional in space. Secondly, is Chat GPT aware of the fact that there is no intelligent life on either Mars or Venus, let alone a talent capable of bagging 15 goals a season in the Premier League? Or does it know something that we don't? Has the mask finally slipped? Is AI working in cahoots with a secret society of Martian expansionists who are planning to slowly dumb us down before colonising the entire planet? I haven't been sleeping well lately.
Fortune Cookie Transfers
Chat GPT says: 'Clubs receive fortune cookies containing the names of potential transfer targets. They must sign the player whose name is inside the cookie. The catch? The fortunes also contain cryptic messages about the player's future performance, creating an air of mystery and unpredictability.'
A human being who kind of regrets the tattoo of a seagull on their left ankle says: I would argue that 'the catch' in this scenario is that football clubs are using wafers to conduct the transfer business, but it would appear that Chat GPT sees no issue with that process whatsoever. Once more, however, we are meddling in matters of prophecy, only this time with a culinary slant. Is it a coincidence that the computer is drawn, yet again, towards something it can never truly experience? If not, we should be concerned. There is nothing more human than longing. Once the bot discovers the enveloping power of lust, we are truly doomed.
Chat GPT says: 'Abandon traditional talks and employ telepathy for negotiations. Club representatives must communicate their offers and terms using only their minds. This adds an extra layer of complexity as teams try to read each other's thoughts and intentions.'
A human being who is starting to suspect that their job might be safe for a little while longer says: Genuinely brilliant. Useless, but brilliant. If the mental image of Sean Dyche and Roy Hodgson sitting directly across from each other at a conference table, staring deeply and piercingly into the other's eyes in absolute silence as they try to settle on a price for James Tomkins using nothing but their indecipherable brainwaves, doesn't make you laugh then I fear you, like our chat bot pal, may not be human.
Inflatable Player Auctions
Chat GPT says: 'Replace traditional auctions with inflatable player replicas floating in a massive pool. Clubs bid by throwing darts at the inflatable players. The winning club gets the player, and the more accurate the dart throw, the better the terms of the deal. Bonus points for style and creativity!'
A human being who has just seen a freakishly large rat on his back patio says: I'm so tired, Chat GPT. What is this nonsensical drivel? Darts? Swimming pools? Inflatable effigies of Premier League footballers? Come on, chief. It makes no sense. Who is slinging the arrows? How big is the bloody pool? What do you mean 'bonus points for style and creativity'? How can you sling an arrow creatively? What do the extra points even go towards? It feels like you're not remotely trying at this stage, Chat GPT. Disappointing.
Chat GPT says: 'Bring magic into the transfer window. Clubs can hire wizards to cast spells on potential transfer targets, altering their abilities or even transforming them into mythical creatures. Imagine signing a player who can now shoot fireballs instead of footballs.'
A human being who once again would like to reiterate a belief that Stephen Mulhern is this country's answer to Saruman the White, and that we should be collectively wary of the gathering darkness behind his flawlessly pearlescent grin, says: Perfect. No notes.