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Star Emiliano sala was too worried about getting back in time for his first Cardiff training.

 Star Emiliano sala was too worried about getting back in time for his first Cardiff training.

Star Emiliano sala was too worried about getting back in time for his first Cardiff training.

Cardiff City’s new signing Emiliano Sala asked his agent for help to organise the flight which disappeared over the Channel, Sportsmail can reveal.

The 28-year-old Argentine striker was concerned about how he could return to his French club on Saturday, collect his belongings, say his goodbyes to team-mates and still be back on Monday in time for training the following morning with his new Premier League team.

Mark McKay, who was acting on behalf of Nantes, chartered the flight and Sala’s French agent Meissa N’Diaye also helped with the arrangements. Dave Ibbotson was one of the roster of three or four pilots regularly used to fly footballers to France.’I can confirm that when Emiliano made myself and his agent Meissa N’Diaye aware that he wished to travel back to Nantes following his medical and signing on Friday, I began to look into arranging a private flight to take him to Nantes on Saturday morning,’ McKay said in a statement.

‘That evening it was confirmed a plane was available to fly Emiliano on Saturday which could remain in Nantes until he was due to return to Cardiff on Monday and train on Tuesday.’

Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said on Wednesday that Sala had declined the club’s offer to make travel plans for the brief return flight to Nantes, commenting that it would ‘quite frankly, have been a commercial flight’.

It is thought that Sala felt the combination of a flight to Paris on Saturday morning and two-and-a-half-hour train journey south-west to Nantes would have left him with little time in the French city.

Cardiff were aware of the player’s plans. A player liaison officer was with him on Friday afternoon and waiting for him at Cardiff Airport on Monday.Manager Neil Warnock was contacted when the plane did not arrive. It was Warnock who alerted McKay, asking him why the player had not turned up.

The single-engine aircraft went missing in the Channel Islands area on Monday evening, prompting a rescue mission for Sala and Ibbotson, for whom all hope is now lost.

One Premier League executive who has done business with Nantes told Sportsmail that private planes are often preferred to get there because the city is so difficult to reach. ‘It needs a connection, via Paris, London or Amsterdam. It is understandable that a private plane would have been used,’ he said.

Sportsmail understands that Cardiff chief executive Ken Choo has put the club at the disposal of the player’s devastated family. Sala’s s Star Emiliano sala was too worried about getting back in time for his first Cardiff training.  ister, Romina, was due to meet Choo and Warnock at the St David’s Bay Hotel in Cardiff on Wednesday night. His mother, Mercedes, and his brother Dario are in France.

N’Diaye has remained the main point of contact for the family as he is a Spanish speaker and knows them far better. Cardiff did not comment on Wednesday night on whether the insurance paperwork had been completed after Sala’s £15million move. One source who has done dozens of top-flight deals told

Sportsmail that the insurance deals in such cases can sometimes take several days to tie up.’The paperwork may not have been arranged with the insurers because the deal had only just happened,’ he said. ‘You put your energy into negotiating the deal and getting it over the line.’

Cardiff said they did not want to discuss financial issues out of respect for the player’s family.

They would certainly have had to sign up to the club record transfer fee, with an immediate sum due to Nantes, before putting Sala in front of their cameras on Friday.

It is highly unlikely any prior undertaking to give a percentage of the player’s salary in an extraordinary tragedy of this kind would have been included in Sala’s contract. But Sportsmail understands that thoughts in both Cardiff and Nantes are already turning to how the family might best be provided with financial security.The mood in Cardiff on Wednesday was one of desolation about the loss of a player whom most of the squad had not even had the chance to meet. The squad were on the way to Newcastle, where they played on Saturday, while Sala went through the transfer process in the Welsh capital.

The player’s sister, Romina, accompanied by her partner and a friend, were also intending to make their way to the area where the search operation was called off on Wednesday night at 5.15pm.

Sala’s father Horacio, still in Argentina, said he had spoken to his son on Sunday, during the brief return to Nantes. ‘He was so happy that he was going there to an even∞ bigger club,’ he said. ‘And then this news. I don’t know what to say. There are no words.’ 


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