Set me free, begs Tau
South Africa’s best player pleads with PSL champions to keep their word
Percy Tau is on his knees begging Mamelodi Sundowns to release him to join English Premiership (EPL) club Brighton & Hove Albion for R34-million.
The Sunday Times can exclusively reveal that the EPL outfit have made three improved offers to the Premier Soccer League champions to sign the 2017/18 SA Footballer of the Year, Player’s Player of the Season and joint-top goalscorer. Tau is cutting a frustrated figure and is growing disillusioned by the Brazilians’ failure to accept Brighton’s offer.
Moreover, Tau’s agent, Mmatsatsi Sefalafala of Falaf Sports Talent, accuses Sundowns of negotiating in bad faith and reneging on their word that they would release Tau if he got an offer from one of the top five leagues in the world, of which the EPL is one. Tau and Sefalafala met Sundowns’ officials in a Sandton hotel where a promise to release him to pastures new was made by no less than club president Patrice Motsepe.
Downs coach Pitso Mosimane, acting general manager Yogesh Singh and chief financial officer Amanda Matthee were also in attendance. Tau, who turned 24 last month, declined an offer to travel to Russia to watch the World Cup with some members of the club. Furthermore, he feels he is not in a good space to join the team for a preseason camp which starts tomorrow because he believes his future needs to be prioritised.
Brighton tabled an initial offer of £1.5 million (almost R27-million) after Sundowns played Barcelona in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup last month. When the Sunday Times approached Sefalafala for comment, she confirmed the behind-the-scenes developments.
“We’ve had several meetings with Sundowns and two of them included the president. Around March, I was contacted by Brighton and we started engaging,” said Sefalafala. “Percy was very excited. We agreed that we will break the news to Sundowns after the Barcelona game.
“Brighton prepared an offer and I sent the offer to Yogesh via email.”
Downs’ response through Singh was that Brighton had to “‘significantly improve your offer because I won’t even take this to the board’,” said Sefalafala. “Brighton increased it to £2-million plus a 7.5% sell-on. Sundowns said increase the offer significantly.
“On the other hand, Pitso is busy in the media saying these English teams must not think we are in Burundi.” Sundowns, she said, came back saying they want £4m, £2m payable immediately and £2m payable in 2019 with no sell-on.
“Their latest offer is £2,5m, with £2,2m payable immediately and £300 000 payable next year in June, plus a 5% sell-on.
“This revised offer was sent to Downs on Thursday night last week.” The silence from Sundowns was deafening.
“Last Saturday Tau sent Motsepe a text message requesting the president to, ‘Please help me, I need your assistance, in January we spoke about this, you said if we get an opportunity we will talk’. He has not responded until today. Usually, when Percy texts him, he responds immediately. This time around he went quiet. I then received a message from Brighton to say Sundowns have responded and have not moved on the four million,” said Sefalafala.
“This opportunity is hanging by a thread. The sad part is that we have it in black and white that if a bona fide offer comes which the player wishes to accept, both parties, in good faith, shall engage one another in that regard.”
Before Brighton came knocking, Tau was a wanted man as far back as January. FC Midtjylland of Denmark and Rostov of Russia and Dynamo Moscow made approaches and Sefalafala brought that to the attention of Downs.
“We started engaging and Percy was really keen to go at the time. We had several meetings with Sundowns, two of which included the president himself.
“Their (Sundowns’) plan was to get Percy to renew, but we were not keen on doing that. From past experiences, certain players have had problems to go overseas after having renewed, so we did not want to be locked in a long-term contract.
“The president, in his words, said: ‘We see your value, we see you playing in the top five leagues’. He said: ‘If you guys get teams from a top-five league we will consider it. Percy was so highly emotional that at some point he requested to be excused from the meeting. He was crying.”
At the time, Rostov was offering $1m. “The transfer window closed. We just comforted Percy and told him to focus on maintaining his performance and persevere.
Tau sent Motsepe a text message requesting his help Mmatsatsi Sefalafala
Percy Tau’s agent
Yogesh Singh has informed Sefalafala that Motsepe has acknowledged receipt of Tau’s text message. Motsepe told Singh to tell Tau that there were two offers from two teams in the Spanish La Liga. Calls made to Singh and spokesperson Thulani Thuswa went...