Who is Emiliano Sala: The Cardiff City striker on plane that went missing on flight from Nantes

The Argentine footballer agreed to join Cardiff last weekend in a club-record £15m transfer

Jack de Menezes
Tuesday 22 January 2019 11:46 GMT
Emiliano Sala search: Officials say they are ‘not expecting anyone to be alive’ with no trace of missing plane

Cardiff City are “seeking clarification” on reports in France that new club-record signing Emiliano Sala was on board an aeroplane that went missing off the coast of Alderney in the English Channel on Monday night.

The Premier League club’s chairman Mehmet Dalman issued a statement to admit the club are “very concerned” by the reports, and are awaiting further information from police and French search and rescue teams, who are being assisted with help by British coastguard helicopters.

"We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night," said Dalman. "We are awaiting confirmation before we can say anything further. We are very concerned for the safety of Emiliano Sala."

Sala, 28-year-old was born in Santa Fe, Argentina, and began his youth career with Club Proyecto Crecer in his homeland.

But at the age of 21 he agreed to join French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, making his debut in 2012 before joining US Orleans on loan in the Championnat National for the rest of the season where he scored 19 goals in 37 appearances.

Further loan spells followed with Ligue 2’s Chamois Niort and Caen in Ligue 1, scoring 18 and five goals in 37 and 13 appearances respectively, before agreeing to join Nantes for €1m in 2015 to forge his first-team career in the French top flight.

Sala made 130 appearances in total for Nantes across four seasons, scoring 48 goals for the club to catch the eye of Cardiff City, who secured a reported £15m transfer at the weekend for his services in an attempt to remain in the Premier League this season.

A powerful and direct player, Sala equaled his career-best total of 12 goals — achieved in the past two seasons with Nantes — in 19 league games this season. He is fifth highest scorer in the French league, one behind Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, who is the world's most expensive player.

The transfer fee surpassed the £11m that Cardiff paid to Sevilla for Chile international Gary Medel in 2013, becoming the most expensive signing in the club’s history.

Sala signed for Cardiff from French side Nantes on Saturday (AFP/Getty Images) (AFP)

But after saying farewell to his former Nantes teammates having posted a picture of them together one final time with the message “the last goodbye” on social media, Sala boarded a flight the same day destined for Cardiff, only for the Piper Malibu light aircraft to disappear from radar on Monday evening.

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