Masterchef Australia? Big Brother Africa? Pah! The world’s biggest reality TV show is the English Premier League. Everybody knows that. The give-and-take of the transfer period is enormously important. It signals what sort of imperatives the clubs are operating under – whether cool-headedness, desperation or the arrogance that comes from the crisp smell of a foreign owner’s pound notes. It is one way of predicting what the new season holds. We focus, obviously, on Arsenal FC. By SIPHO HLONGWANE
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is facing a mutiny of sorts. Players, sick of a six-year trophyless run are leaving or threatening to leave. Gael Clichy has already left for Manchester City and Fransesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are both being hunted by big clubs. The Fabregas saga is of particular annoyance to Arsenal fans – Barcelona have been hinting for years now, not very subtly, that they want him back. The Gunners captain himself has said he’d like to play for Barca at some point. As much as he’s a vital cog in the Arsenal machine, his half-heartedness isn’t good for morale at all.
In happier news, Wenger signed Côte d’Ivoire striker Gervinho from Lille for about R116 million. He’s also signed Carl Jenkison from Charlton Athletic and is reportedly waiting to settle the Fabregas matter before chasing Valencia midfielder Juan Mata.
Wenger is also reportedly looking to shore up his defence, which has looked pathetic in the care of Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Kolscieny, by signing Birmingham’s Scot Dann. He had wanted Gary Cahill from Bolton Wanderers, but was put off by the asking price.
In a move that surprised everybody, Newcastle United suddenly let midfielder Joey “The Axe Murderer” Barton go on a free transfer, prompting a scramble among the league’s top four clubs to sign him on. While “Babykiller” Barton is undoubtedly a thug, he could be just what Arsenal need in the midfield, a player with iron balls, a fearsome temper and the willingness to incur the wrath of the referee to get the job done. DM
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Photo: Arsenal’s Samir Nasri (L) celebrates with teammate Cesc Fabregas after scoring a goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in London April 20, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez.
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Whale stress levels dropped dramatically after 9/11 due to reduced ocean-borne shipping. This was measured by analysing said whales' droppings.