Emiliano Sala and Ibbotson have been missing since January 21, when the Piper Malibu aircraft they were travelling on went off the radar en route from Nantes to Cardiff.
Initial searches found no trace of the aircraft, but private searches have since taken over and Sky News reports that wreckage of the plane was found on the seabed this morning.
The families of both Sala and Ibbotson – who remain missing presumed dead – were told about the development earlier today.
Sala was travelling to Cardiff City to join up with his new teammates having recently completed a club-record £15m move to the Bluebirds from Nantes.
A privately funded search began on Sunday led by the marine scientist David Mearns on behalf of the Sala family.
Mearns said on Twitter: “Wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala and piloted by David Ibbotson was located early this morning by the FPV MORVEN.
“As agreed with the Air Accident Investigation Branch they moved the [offshore supply ship] GEO OCEAN III over the position we provided them to visually identify the plane by remotely-operated vehicle. ”
Mearns added: “The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by police. The AAIB will be making a statement tomorrow. Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David.”
Speaking to Sky News, Mearns said: “This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families. But tonight they have heard devastating news and in respect of the families I won’t comment any further about what has happened.”