Percy Tau will sign for Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday in a deal worth more than R50-million but will not be playing for the English Premier League club this coming season‚ TimesLIVE can exclusively reveal.
Instead the 24-year-old Premier Soccer League Player of the Season is going to be loaned out for the season to a club that is still to be determined.
Tau’s late arrival for the pre-season preparations at Brighton‚ because of the drawn out transfer saga‚ is one of the factors that has led to a decision that he needs time to settle into football in Europe before he can be thrown into the Premier League‚ club sources said on Thursday.
It also gets around the potential rejection of a work permit application‚ because he has too few international caps and also because South Africa’s FIFA ranking is too low.
The immediate destination for Tau is to be decided in the next days‚ sources added.
Tau completed his medical at the club on Wednesday and will sign a contract today.
The specifics are still being polished and the length of the contract will only be announced later.
But he could earn Mamelodi Sundowns up to 3.1-million pounds‚ the sources added‚ with clauses for achieving a target of games played worked into the deal plus sell-on payments to Sundowns.
That is a whopping sum of almost R54-million at today’s exchange rate and represents a record for a South African footballer and a major windfall for the South African champions.
It has taken since March to get the deal done and been a matter of much frustration to the English club‚ who have told TimesLIVE they were not impressed with the negotiating ability of Sundowns.
It was only after Sundowns were criticised for failing to deliver on their promise to Tau to let him go overseas if there was interest‚ that stalled negotiations were kicked started again.
Sundowns released a statement saying owner Patrice Motsepe had instructed the club to move negotiations along‚ looking to paint the billionaire businessman Motsepe in a positive light and put the blame on club officials.
But TimesLIVE has learnt that the negotiations were not handled by Sundowns management but rather senior officials in Motsepe’s business and that the billionaire was well aware of what was going on throughout the drawn-out saga.
The image of Motsepe suddenly instructing his club to conclude the Tau deal‚ arriving like a white knight to ‘rescue’ the situation and ‘put Tau out of misery’ is therefore disingenuous.
Tau had refused to join Sundowns’ pre-season preparations in order to force their hand.
Tau will be the 10th new signing before the start of the season for ambitious Brighton‚ including Mali international Yves Bissouma from Lille in France on a five-year deal‚ Morocco’s Soufyan Ahannach from Sparta Rotterdam and Nigeria centre back Leon Balogun.
In Tau’s position‚ Brighton spent R94-million on 25-year-old Florin Andone‚ who is a centre forward from Romania but had been playing in La Liga in Spain.
Exclusive report TimesLIVE
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