LONDON – Manager Neil Warnock said on Thursday that he is confident that Cardiff will deal with the payment issue over late Argentine striker Emiliano Sala “in the right way”, admitting the matter could have been better handled.
A small aircraft carrying Cardiff’s record £15 million signing from his former club Nantes in France to Britain disappeared from radar on January 21, two days after he signed for the Premier League club.
The player’s body was recovered on February 7 from the submerged wreck of his plane in the Channel, and his funeral was held on Saturday in his home town of Progreso in Argentina.
The body of pilot David Ibbotson has not been found.
Cardiff have so far refused to pay the first instalment of the fee, believed to be £5 million, as they await the results of a probe into the causes of the crash.
According to BBC Wales Sport, both Cardiff and Nantes on Wednesday agreed to a one-week extension to the deadline, meaning the Bluebirds have until February 27 to start paying the fee.
“I’ve known Mehmet Dalman since I’ve been here, and I’m quite sure that the club will deal with it in the right way in the next few days, because they’ve asked for an extension, and I think Nantes have agreed to that,” Warnock told reporters on Thursday.
“I just think certain things were done probably in reflection that shouldn’t have been done, that stirred everybody up.”
Warnock declined to go into details at his press conference before his side’s match against Watford on Friday, but added: “It created stories that shouldn’t have been done. It should have been kept between the two clubs really.”
Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that Sala signed a potentially invalid contract with Cardiff.
“The Telegraph understands Sala’s Cardiff contract was deemed non-compliant with Premier League rules, and was returned to them for him to sign an amended one,” the report said, adding that such discrepancies were not uncommon.
“Cardiff plan to use Sala’s Premier League registration status to argue he was not their player when he died a month ago,” it added.
Warnock declined to comment on the latest reports.AFP