Emiliano Sala: Timeline of Cardiff City signing from Nantes

Cardiff City signed the 28-year-old from French club Nantes

Just three days after he signed for Premier League club Cardiff City, Emiliano Sala was on a light aircraft which disappeared on Monday night, French authorities have confirmed.

The 28-year-old Argentine was one of two people on board the Piper Malibu, which went missing off Alderney in the Channel Islands.

Cardiff spent a club-record fee of around £15m on a player who they had been interested in for more than a month.

Sala timeline:

Wednesday, 5 December, 2018: Cardiff manager Neil Warnock first reveals his interest in signing Sala after travelling to France to watch the striker play for Nantes against Marseilles.

Sala, then reportedly valued at £25m, scores in a 3-2 win, taking his tally to 13 goals for the Ligue 1 side at that stage of the season.

Thursday, 27 December: Cardiff's pursuit of Sala looks to be over after having their bid rejected by Nantes.

Warnock suggests they will not increase their offer for the 28-year-old Argentine.

"We did originally [make an offer] but that was turned down and we haven't been back since," Warnock says at the time.

Tuesday, 1 January, 2019: As the January transfer window opens, Cardiff revive their interest in Sala and resume negotiations with Nantes over a fee worth around £15m.

Wednesday, 16 January: With speculation intensifying about his future, Sala makes his final appearance for Nantes, coming on as a 72nd-minute substitute in the 1-0 loss at Nimes.

Friday, 18 January: Sala travels to Cardiff to have a medical and discuss personal terms at Cardiff City Stadium, where he is pictured with Bluebirds fans afterwards.

Saturday, 19 January: Cardiff confirm their club-record signing of Sala for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £15m.

That evening, Sala says: "It gives me great pleasure and I can't wait to start training, meet my new teammates and get down to work."

Cardiff's chief executive Ken Choo, who is present when Sala signs, says: "I'm sure all Cardiff City fans will join me in that and we can look forward to seeing our record signing in a Bluebirds shirt."

Emiliano Sala tweet
Emiliano Sala tweeted a photo of his farewell to his former Nantes team-mates on Sunday

Sunday, 20 January: Sala travels back to Nantes to say goodbye to his team-mates and collect his belongings as he prepares for his move to Cardiff.

Monday, 21 January: Sala flies from Nantes to Cardiff at 19:15 but, at 20:30, the Piper Malibu light aircraft he is aboard goes missing off Alderney in the Channel Islands.

The plane had been flying at 5,000ft when it contacted Jersey air traffic control requesting descent, the plane lost contact while at 2,300ft.

Tuesday, 22 January: Searches for the plane are suspended at 02:00 "due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility", according to police, before the search resumes at 08:00.