ARGENTINIAN footballer Emiliano Sala was on board a plane that went missing over the English Channel on Monday night, French media have reported.

The Nantes striker was announced as a new signing for Premier League club Cardiff City on Saturday.

An air and sea search has been launched after a plane disappeared from radar in the English Channel.

Rescue teams, including the search and rescue helicopter from Lee on the Solent, were scrambled to waters north of Alderney after the light aircraft vanished on Monday evening, Guernsey Police said.

French media, quoting police sources, said the 28-year-old striker was on the light aircraft that disappeared from radar on Monday night while apparently flying from Nantes to Cardiff.

French media have reported that Sala was driven to the airport by Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois.

Premier League strugglers Cardiff paid a club record fee in the region of £15 million for the footballer, one of the leading scorers in the French Ligue 1.

Sala posted a photo to his Instagram and Twitter accounts on Monday afternoon posing with the rest of the Nantes squad.

He captioned the photo: "The final [heart emoji] goodbye @FCNantes."

The Alderney lifeboat said it launched at 8.50pm on Monday night.

The Piper Malibu with two people on board lost contact near the Casquets lighthouse around eight miles north-west of Alderney at 8.30pm.

The plane is thought to have been travelling from Nantes in Brittany to Cardiff.

HM Coastguard said the incident was not in the UK search and rescue area, although it had sent two helicopters to help.

"HM Coastguard are currently assisting Guernsey Coastguard with a search for a light aircraft off Alderney in the Channel Islands," a spokeswoman said.

"HM Coastguard helicopters from Solent and Newquay have been helping to search overnight with nothing found."

The search and rescue operation had to deal with worsening conditions as they scoured the area on Monday night.

"At that time there were some showers around, but nothing too intense. Wind speeds were not too bad - average speeds were around 15 to 20mph," Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said.

"But it has got pretty wet, we've seen a band of rain push down from the north-west. That rain set in around 11.30pm to midnight and it's still raining now.

"It's also a bit windier, with gusts around 35mph."