The world of football has started to pay tribute to Emiliano Sala after the Argentine striker went missing last week.
Nantes players wore shirts bearing their former teammate’s name in their 1-1 draw against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday, while play was also stopped in the ninth minute of the match.
Tributes were also paid at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, where Cardiff City were playing in a match which could have been Sala’s debut.
Sala and pilot David Ibbotson are feared dead after their plane travelling from France to Cardiff disappeared over the English channel on January 21.
The search for Sala and Ibbotson was initially ended by police but has resumed following pleas from the player’s sister Romina as well as Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.
Football agent Willie McKay has confirmed that he arranged the flight from Nantes and his role in persuading the striker to sign for Cardiff has also emerged.
The Telegraph have published the email that McKay sent to Sala two weeks before his disappearance.
McKay’s email to Sala
McKay told Telegraph Sport that the personal messages, which included a suggestion that Sala’s mother could claim £1 million if he joined Cardiff, have been released to set the record straight.
The agent told Sala how the Bluebirds “will pay you around £50,000-per-week, plus bonuses, on a contract of four to five years.
“And whoever accompanies you, whether it is your agent or your mother, who, according to English law, can represent you, could claim around £1m from the deal.”
McKay also admitted in the email that he planted misleading stories linking Sala to West Ham and Everton, among other clubs.
“It is said that you did not want to go to Cardiff,” he added.
“It is probably our fault because we have said in the media that other clubs like West Ham, Everton, etc were interested in order to create an interest around you.”
McKay used his strong influence in the game to convince Sala, even suggesting that he could eventually get him a move to “Manchester, Liverpool and Chelsea”.
The agent continued: ”We make transfers! More than 600 until today, from Didier Drogba, to (Nicolas) Anelka, (Dimitri) Payet, (Jean Michael) Seri, (André-Frank Zambo) Anguissa.
“Let us introduce you to the way we operate and how we came to this Cardiff City saga. We work for clubs in France, and for players who want to be transferred to England.
“As far as you are concerned, we have talked to all the clubs, including Manchester, Chelsea, Liverpool. We think you could end up in such clubs.
“We approached Nantes, as we do with many players in other clubs, to obtain the mandate of sale. We are not preventing you from working with another agent, but most players are very satisfied with our mediation.
“We do not say ‘we are like a father to a son to our players’. No, if you had not been a footballer, these people would not be interested in you. In the end they are only interested in the money. What we all want a lot of, of course. That’s why we like to work with just the clubs. No sentiment, we’re just doing business.”
McKay went on to tell Sala: “My experience says: If you do not go for the Premier League now, you will regret it.”