In 2018 Mamelodi Sundowns sold superstar forward, Percy Tau to English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion for a record R50 million. The 26-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium, playing for three different teams. The South African attacker played 55 matches in Belgium, scoring 13 times. Now, back at Brighton, Tau has the opportunity to make the most of his chance, with many of his positional opposition being injured.
The swift forward, known for his pace and flair, made his debut for the Seagulls in a drawn-out FA Cup tie against lower-tier Newport County. The South African came on after the 70th minute and the match ended 1-1 and had to be settled by penalties, which ended in favour of Tau and his Brighton teammates. One of the highlights of the game was an excellent first-touch by Tau, who quickly rounded his marker and showed his devastating pace.
Tau’s display at Newport earned him a spot in the team for Brighton’s clash against Manchester City. Tau started the game alongside Leandro Trossard and caused all sorts of problems for City’s young wing-back, Oleksandr Zinchenko. Before the game had even started, Brighton manager, Graham Potter had already commented on Tau’s excellence, “He’s only been with us a few days but I think you can see his quality,” said Tau’s new manager, “it was a difficult environment for him to make his debut away at Newport at Rodney Parade. It’s a unique football environment there. But he just got on with it – you could see his ability‚ you could see what he brings.”
Although the Seagulls lost to the Citizens, they had some great periods and showed signs of optimism. Following their 1-0 away defeat to Manchester City, they showed good character to secure an impressive win against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. Tau started the game on the bench but came on for Trossard in the 73rd minute to help secure their 1-0 win away from home.
Brighton have a few injury problems, but Tau could make the most of this and could cement his place in the starting XI in the short-term at least. He will have his chances, and Graham Potter has said that they are working to get the best out of the talented South African, “we’re looking to getting to know him better‚ and him us better. And I think that’s how the relationship improves.” Tau might be given another starting opportunity in Brighton’s next match, which is an FA Cup fourth-round tie at home against EFL League One side Blackpool.