Sundowns owner steps in to end Tau saga
Mamelodi Sundowns have cleared the path for striker Percy Tau to join English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion after owner Patrice Motsepe told team management to strike a deal.
Sundowns had been holding out for more than the R50-million, rising to R65-million with add-ons, that Brighton had put on the table last week as their final offer.
But with the club potentially losing Tau for nothing in 12 months' time, Motsepe has instructed his management team to strike a deal.
Although the club have phrased it rather as a reaction to Tau and his agent Mmatsatsi Sefalafala apologising for leaks in the media and the player's absence from pre-season training.
"Mamelodi Sundowns is pleased to announce that the [club] President, Dr Patrice Motsepe, gave instructions to the management to finalise the deal with Brighton & Hove Albion FC after Percy Tau and his agent came to see him and apologised for disclosing confidential information to the media and for the player not reporting for training," said a statement from the club on Monday.
It looks to be bringing an end to the saga, with Tau determined to test himself in the Premier League and holding out for the move to Brighton. The next challenge for the 25-year-old will be to secure a work permit in England.
He is in the final year of his contract at Sundowns, who have lost Bongani Zungu and Khama Billiat for free in recent times as they let the contracts of those two players run down.
Zungu is now with French Ligue 1 side Amiens, while Billiat signed for Sundowns' title rivals in South Africa, Kaizer Chiefs.
The transfer to Brighton would make Tau comfortably the most expensive export from the South African 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 Motsepe, who has spent an estimated R200-million building the team over the last decade.