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Brighton give Sundowns Percy Tau ultimatum

Mamelodi Sundowns have been handed a 'take-it-or-leave-it' final offer for playmaker Percy Tau from English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion, KweséESPN has learnt.

The South Coast side have been in hot pursuit of the South African international for months, but have been frustrated in their efforts to land the 24-year-old as Sundowns hold out for their best price.

Brighton have been steadily raising their offers, of which there have now been four on the table, but say they will move on to other targets if Sundowns don't accept the latest one presented over the weekend.

Sources tell KweséESPN that the latest offer is worth in the region of R50-million, short of the R70-million that Sundowns had been initially asking for.

It would still make Tau comfortably the most expensive export from South Africa's Premier Soccer League, trumping Thulani Serero's move to Ajax Amsterdam in 2011 that at the time was worth €2.5-million, at the exchange rate of the day equating to R24.5-million.

It would also go some way to reimbursing club owner Patrice Motsepe, who has spent an estimated R200-million on building the team over the last decade. Sundowns have been saying for months that they are resigned to losing their star man and that they would not stand in the players' way, but need to properly compensated for the forward.

They have in effect already signed his replacement in Venezuelan forward Jose Ali Meza, who cost them a reported R13-million from Bolivian club Oriente Petrolero, which if confirmed would be the most a South African club has ever paid for a player.

Coach Pitso Mosimane said that negotiations with Brighton are on-going, but that he fully expects Tau to depart and that the club are very willing sellers.

"Sundowns wants Percy to leave, I think you know everything. Negotiations are ongoing - even today, and myself and management have all agreed that Percy must go," Mosimane is quoted by Kick Off.

"Percy knows that we have agreed that he should go, because we'd love to see our player in the Premier League. I don't think anyone who is sober in their mind would think Sundowns doesn't want Percy to go.

"I mean, really guys, how's that possible? How can we do that to South Africa? How can we do that ... it won't be good for our recruitment either. Players will say, 'No, if we go to Sundowns, we won't go overseas'."

Tau would be the latest former Sundowns player to feature in a top five European league after Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly, who both play in France's Ligue 1, though the former went to Europe via Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.

"We started with Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly, why not Percy? Even Khama [Billiat], we were happy to let him go to Europe," Mosimane says.

"So it's important that Percy goes to Europe, but what's important is that the teams are talking. I know media takes it anyway it wants, but there's no need for that."

Should the move to Brighton fall through, Sundowns claim there have been other offers on the table for Tau, though the player himself has his heart set on the Premier League.

The next hurdle will be a work permit as although Tau is a national team first-choice regular, South Africa's lowly position of number 74 on the FIFA World Rankings will count against the player.

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