The Percy Tau story

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By: Luke Moriarty – Staff Writer

Picture a new player being signed to an NBA team.

In simple terms, a contract is put together, a medical exam is given, and if all things are swell with the lawyers, the deal is done.

Now imagine being a player who signed with a team, but then had to wait 2 whole years to play for them because of a necessary work permit – and no, this wasn’t because he had committed any prior crimes or malfeasance.

It’s because the ‘quality’ of his minutes played back at his old club weren’t worthy of admission to the League. 

Enter Percy Tau, a striker — and now seemingly a nomad from Emalahleni, South Africa. 

Percy was signed to Brighton & Hove Albion back in 2018 worth around 4 million euros from his South African club, Mamelodi Sundowns. 

Tau had 25 goals in 100 appearances for Sundowns, as well as playing for the South African National Team. 

He was a clear target for a club constantly needing offensive talent.

However, the English Football Association (FA) needed Percy to play in more quality games (in terms of FIFA rankings) elsewhere in Europe. The South African League that Sundowns was in would not meet the ‘threshold’ required. Tau would not be granted a work permit to play for Brighton in the Premier League. 

Tau would then be dealt on loan to three different clubs bouncing around in Belgium from 2018-Jan 2021. He would score a total of 20 goals in Belgium, as well as appearing and scoring  in UEFA Champions League and Europa League with Belgian top-tier side, Club Brugge. 

Heading into 2021, Tau was 5 months into his loan at Anderlecht in Belgium. However, because of newly established Brexit in 2021 in the UK, Tau was able to meet the requirements under new work permit conditions. Right away, Brighton was able to recall him from loan and implement him in the first team.

Percy stayed engaged with his goal of making it to the Premier League, and his exceptional job of scoring in Belgium hopes to be a continued trend for Brighton & Hove Albion.

Brighton are currently nearing the relegation zone at the bottom of the Premier League table. They have scored only 20 goals through 18 games this season, and Neal Maupay is the only player with more than 2 goals on the team (6). 

Manager Graham Potter has been pleased with Percy’s attitude since his signing at the club,

 “He is fantastic within the group, he has supported the players even when he’s not been in the team and that is a credit to his character.”

The character of Percy Tau is a glimmering aspect of his personality and what he brings to the club. Being a selfless striker is a hard combination to achieve especially in the Premier League, but Tau does just that. That being much different from current Brighton striker Maupay, who is known as one of the most selfish strikers in the League. Tau’s new appointment could be a much needed switch for Brighton fans.

Percy Tau’s story is one of perseverance and continued hope, being barred from access to the EPL because of the FA’s doubts in him really just continued to drive him. He continued to dominate the next roadblock in his way (even if it was for the club’s he was loaned to), and now the dream of playing top-flite football is a reality.

Percy has already made his club debut in the FA Cup against Newport County, as well as his Premier League debut against Manchester City.

Keep a watchful eye on this playmaking forward to try and revive Brighton from the relegation zone. 

Check out his highlights in Belgium here and EPL game vs Man City here

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