Matchdays in every Premier League game marked a moment of silence for an Argentine forward Emiliano Sala and pilot Dave Ibbotson who went missing over the English Channel on January 22 2019 while moving from Nantes to Cardiff where the Argentine was supposed to play following a club record move to the Bluebirds.
Emiliano Sala began his career playing youth football in Argentina for Club San Martin De Progreso before spending some time in Portugal’s regional leagues with Proyecto Crecer. He then began his professional career in France, moving to Girondins De Bordeaux. Struggling to break into the first team, he then earned loan moves to Championnat National side Orleans and Ligue 2 side Niort. Combined he scored 37 goals in 74 appearances for the two sides. Returning back to Bordeaux, he was assured of a regular starting berth in the team but that assurance never materialised. Eventually, he was loaned out to fellow Ligue 1 side Caen where he scored 5 goals in 13 appearances.
He then moved to Nantes for 1 million Euros and would go on to be one of the club’s best players. He made his debut for Nantes in a 1-0 win over Guingamp on the opening day of the 2015-16 season and scored his first goal in a 1-1 draw with AC Ajaccio. Sala would only score six goals in his debut season with Nantes but he would still finish as the side’s top scorer. The next two years, however, he would double his goal tally, scoring twelve goals each as he continued to impress scouts from foreign clubs.
In 2018-19, despite a run without first team football under Miguel Cardoso, he managed to top the scoring charts in France by December – level with PSG’s Kylian Mbappe after being restored to the lineup by new manager Vahid Halihodzic. Sala then finalised a move to the Premier League with a 15 million fee agreed between Nantes and Cardiff City – even rejecting a much more lucrative offer from the Chinese Super League to fulfil his dream of playing in the Premier League. Unfortunately, the move never came to fruition as he undertook the fateful journey from France. Sala's body was uncovered from the plane wreckage on February 7 last year, with the pilot, David Ibbotson's, body never found.