Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau is on the verge of realising his dream of playing in England, to join his parent club Brighton & Hove Albion, City Press has reliably learnt.
Sources close to the player have confirmed that the 26-year-old striker now qualifies for a work permit, thanks to the new regulations in the wake of Brexit, the UK’s departure from the EU.
Tau has spent nearly three years on loan in Belgium after failing to meet the UK work permit requirements since he left Mamelodi Sundowns to join Brighton in a South African record four-year deal worth more than R50 million in June 2018.
Media reports in Belgium recently quoted Brighton coach Graham Potter hinting at the club’s efforts to recall Tau from his latest loan spell at RSC Anderlecht in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League.
According to Dutch news outlet HNL, Potter confirmed that Brighton have been monitoring Tau.
“I am aware that he has been playing well, he’s been scoring goals and enjoying his football so that is good,” Potter was quoted as saying.
Tau’s business manager Mmatsatsi Sefalafala could only confirm that talks have been ongoing but politely declined to give further details.
For a foreign player to be eligible to feature in the EPL, they must meet a certain points threshold to earn an endorsement from the governing body, the FA.
Before Brexit was finalised on New Year’s eve, Tau failed to meet the UK work permit requirements because of Bafana’s low Fifa ranking.
However, under the new system his run with Club Brugge in the 2019/20 season could be weighted in.
Tau made 30 appearances for Brugge in all competitions and helped the club to the league triumph, including an impressive individual performances in Uefa’s elite competitions – the Champions League and the Europa League.
He has already played 14 games and scored four times for Anderlecht since he joined the side coached by former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany in July. Finally moving to England will end almost three years of waiting for the player from Emalahleni in Mpumalanga.
Media reports in Belgium are that Anderlecht are now eyeing RB Salzburg midfielder, Ghanaian Majeed Ashimeru, as a potential replacement for Tau.
Brighton on the hand, have also been busy since the EPL player transfer window opened on January 2.
The club are recalling some other players on loan, to reinforce the squad as coach Potter’s side have been struggling to get the results.
The Seagulls, who haven’t won in their last five matches, are placed 17th on the EPL table, three places above the relegation zone.
Brighton take on English fourth tie campaigners Newport County in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, before Potter’s team travel to Manchester City next Wednesday.
. This is a developing story.