French club Nantes are reportedly threatening legal action against Cardiff over the Emiliano Sala transfer – even before his body has been found.
According to a Mirror Sport report, Nantes sent an e-mail demanding the £15m fee last Thursday and followed up with a legal letter on Tuesday.
They are threatening further action unless they get the first payment – the fee is spread over three years – within ten days despite the ongoing search following the Argentine striker’s tragic disappearance.
Cardiff have held off until they establish the full facts and to see who was to blame for the tragedy after the plane, the Piper Malibu N264DB, went missing with Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board two weeks ago.
Investigators have discovered the plane in the English Channel with a body inside but have yet to identify who it is because of the poor weather.
They are also trying to establish who owned the plane, insurance issues and other details surrounding the flight which may mean it results in an insurance pay out.
But Cardiff are understood to be willing to meet their full obligations and, while Nantes have done nothing illegal, the timing of the request with the family still distraught with worry has caused upset at the Premier League club.
French club Bordeaux are also entitled to a cut of the fee, thought to be 50 per cent after Sala was on their books from 2012-2015 before joining Nantes.
Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed on Tuesday that their mission to recover the body inside the wreckage is underway.