By Lwando Mhobo
In a transfer window characterised by reunions,the football world has witnessed another one as Percy Tau joins Al Ahly.
Speculation regarding where Percy’s future lay was rife leading up to the current English Premier League season as it became increasingly evident that Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter could not guarantee him playing time in the upcoming 2021-2022 season — deeming him surplus to requirement.
With The Seagulls willing to listen to offers for Tau – rumours of a return to South Africa quickly surfaced with Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs believed to be amongst the group of potential suitors for the 27-year old.
However,it was the charm offensive of Pitso Mosimane,a coach who was pivotal in Percy Tau’s rise to prominence before his move to England,that would win the race for his coveted signature with Al Ahly confirming the signing of the now ex-Brighton & Hove Albion man on a 3-year deal.
The confirmation of the signing by Al Ahly sees Percy Tau closing the curtains on his European journey with many a fan taking to social media to express their thoughts as well as their dissatisfaction at how Brighton Hove & Albion handled the situation.
Percy Tau’s stay in Europe was initially characterised by difficulty following his failure to secure a UK Work permit after his transfer was completed. However this did not dampen his spirits as the Lion of Judah,as he is affectionately known,made the most of his loan spell with Union Berlin – winning the Player of the Season award and featuring in the Team of The Season. Following his impressive exploits at Union Berlin,he was then loaned out to Club Brugge who he won the domestic league with and also featured in the UEFA Champions League
His next move would be to Belgian giants,Anderlecht,where he spent only four months. His loan move was cut short as he was recalled by Brighton Hove & Albion following changes to the points based system of non-English players.
The change in rules meant that the Witbank-born man could now enhance the upward trajectory of his European career. He would finally get his chance to play in the English Premier League,after working hard to prove himself. On the 10th of January 2021,Percy Tau came on as a substitute for his Brighton debut in a third round FA Cup tie against Newport County ,905 days after signing for Albion.
Three days later,he made his Premier League debut against Manchester City in a promising display although Brighton ended up losing 1-0. Following that match,he found playing minutes few and far between during that season and would make another appearance on the 15th of May against West Ham,a match where he assisted Danny Welbeck’s goal in a 1-1 draw.
Brighton fans and fellow South Africans were earmarking a big 2021/2022 Premier League season for Percy Tau as he started pre-season on a high note,scoring a beautiful solo-run goal against Luton Town
Unfortunately,it was not to be.
The Lion of Judah can look back at his European journey with great pride. Although he was never given a chance at Brighton,his serendipitous journey had him playing in the best club competition and in the best stadiums in Europe.
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