An intriguing story in The Guardian reveals that the 16-year-old Moldavian prodigy Masal Bugduv doesn’t exist. It appears that the player has been created out of nothing by a number of bloggers using e.g. Wikipedia and fake Associated Press-stories. What makes it all the more remarkable is that, while not existing, Bugduv still managed to be ranked 30th on The Times’ list of the hottest young football talents in the world. His name has since been removed from the list, for obvious reasons. But even without Bugduv the list is a rather strange hotchpotch, mixing unknown English teenagers with established stars like Karim Benzema and David Silva.
The non-existence of the Moldavian superstar-to-be raises a couple of important questions. The first is how much you can rely on information in a blog. The second, and perhaps even more important, is how many of United’s own prodigies that really exist?
I’ve seen photos of Adem Ljajic alongside Sir Alex, but let’s face it, Photoshop can be a devious tool. A thorough search of the Internet gave no indication as to the existence of United target Jack Sampson. And newest recruit Ritchie de Laet is supposed to have spent a year and a half at Stoke City, but hasn’t been seen anywhere near the first team.
For final proof of the existence or non-existence of these and other young stars we might have to rely on Descartes. Meanwhile, I’m just waiting for City to lodge a “massive” bid for Bugduv.