Cardiff City have contacted Premier League clubs to determine if they can avoid paying the full £15million transfer fee to Nantes for Emiliano Sala, according to reports.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the Bluebirds have written to clubs as they request help to ‘fighting off Nantes’ legal claim’, according to one source.
They have asked clubs for assistance in ‘sharing your knowledge of Sala as a player’ and the correspondence from a Cardiff law firm describes Sala as ‘the player that Cardiff tried to sign’.
According to the Daily Mail, this phrasing suggests the club believe they may not have to pay all — or indeed any — of the record transfer fee.
A January signing from the French club, Sala was tragically killed when a plane carrying him across the English Channel crashed on January 21. Manager Neil Warnock and Cardiff chief executive Ken Choo arrived in Argentina for the player’s wake and funeral on Saturday.
Willie McKay told Sala in an email he had told the media of rival interest to ‘simulate interest’ in the striker. As a result, this admission forced Cardiff to publicly approach the clubs interested in Sala.
McKay’s email to Sala listed Everton and West Ham as clubs he had linked the player to, though Crystal Palace, Fulham, Burnley and Wolves were also reported to be keen.
The report goes on to say: “But Sala is by no means the first player to have been transferred after being artificially linked with other clubs. This is one of the oldest tricks in the wheeler-dealer world of player acquisition.
“It is difficult to see how Cardiff can possibly cite this practice to avoid paying the first £5m tranche of the fee they had agreed with Nantes for the player.”