Brighton and Hove Albion have confirmed that summer striker signing Percy Tau has made the move to Union SG – a Belgian Second Division side.
The 24-year-old South African international finally joined us last month from Mamelodi Sundowns for an undisclosed fee after well-publicised press shenanigans from his agent and the plan was always to loan him out because he wouldn’t get a UK work permit yet.
The loan obviously gives him the opportunity for good pitch time in the 2018/19 season and he should do well at that level as he adjusts to European football, but the move carries issues of its own.
The fact the club are owned by Tony Bloom also makes it an easy go-to for us, the potential advantages are unlimited – he may be guaranteed to play. It’s a quick potential win for Bloom at his new club as he looks to grow their footballing profile and media presence. I can go on, I don’t need to and maybe Bloom doesn’t deserve the cynical thought here after all he’s done for us, but I’m naturally inclined that way and a tiny part of my brain does wonder which club his signing is actually supposed to benefit in reality.
If we rate his talent as high as we apparently do, why the Belgian second tier? Why not first, why not the Bundesliga, why not the Eredivisie or a newly promoted Serie A team or La Liga?
That would suit us on a work permit front and test Tau’s ability better to adjust to the Premier League.
For the work permit, and I’m no expert at this when it comes to the regulations, I’m not sure the Belgian second-tier qualifies as one of Europe’s top seven leagues – so he gets no points there either.
Tau joined the club unable to get a work permit, he’ll come back in 12 months in exactly the same identical position based on what I’ve read, so will require another loan out to a relevant league where he can actually make work permit progress with points.
Two years into a four-year contract before he even makes progress towards our first team – that’s assuming he goes to a points gaining division for a second loan.
Maybe I’m being harsh and Union wasn’t the plan, we just misjudged the interest there would be in a loan from better work permit based clubs so they became the best option in the circumstances. But with half a month left in the European transfer window, Union couldn’t have been the best option just yet, things change quickly when clubs want cover.
For those as cynical as me, there’s one thing everyone can agree on though, let’s hope Tau goes there and absolutely tears the league up, because come January we can recall him, loan out him out again for work permit reasons and Brighton have benefited, Union have benefited and Bloom and Tau have benefited.
Win, win and I fail to see how anyone would be against that.
And for the record in case anyone assumes this is actually meant as criticism and not just a natural cynicism as if that was Bloom’s plan to get a double benefit quickly whilst putting Tau potentially onto a bigger European shortlist for January – I have no issues with that, I’ll admire the thought.
We live in a world where the quickest thinkers prosper (maybe Donald Trump aside), Leicester City’s sister club have just signed a player that Leicester and Manchester United were heavily linked with and moving abroad no training compensation is required as that’s an inter UK agreement and I assume that was reflected in his signing on fee. Leicester fans expect to see him with them next season.
It’s not wrong or against the rules.
If Brighton potentially benefit from similar, as above, win and win.