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COMMENT: Is Percy Tau ready to leave Mamelodi Sundowns for Europe?

20:17 SAST 2018/01/30
Percy Tau, Mamelodi Sundowns & Abbubaker Mobara, Orlando Pirates
Amid speculation surrounding bids from overseas, Goal looks at whether or not it is the right time for the Masandawana attacker to go abroad

Mamelodi Sundowns star attacker Percy Tau's impressive performances have reportedly attracted interest from two European clubs.

Reports on emerged on Monday morning that both Russian Premier League club FC Rostov and Midtjylland of Denmark were pursuing Tau with time running out in the January transfer window.

This leaves Sundowns with a tough decision on their hands on whether or not they should keep hold or look to cash in on the Witbank-born player.

But while Sundowns’ management mull over the reported R18 million offer from Rostov in particular, Goal looks at whether or not the Bafana Bafana international is ready to make the next step in his career.

In recent seasons, the Brazilians have watched several of their top players move to Europe with contrasting fortunes. Most recently, Keagan Dolly left the club for a big-money move to French Ligue 1 club Montpellier.

However, the 25-year-old has struggled to adapt in the South of France and play regularly for Montpellier. This does create a dilemma for Tau, because at the age of 23, while it might seem the perfect age to go abroad, he, in all honesty, only has two years of professional topflight experience to call upon.

While Tau has banged home 14 goals in 48 appearances, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has alluded to the fact that he is still behind in his development, and has stated on record that one more year in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) won’t do Tau much harm as he still has age on his side.

But from Tau’s perspective, a move could materialise depending on his eagerness and ambition. The attacker who has been utilised regular as a false nine by the Sundowns mentor has in his two seasons achieved won accolades and trophies. Most notably, he has conquered the continent; something which only a handful of South African players can boast about, which does make staying motivated difficult.

Also, with any talk of a move abroad, questions will be raised regarding the strength of the league he chooses to join. As Mosimane recently suggested he hopes to see Tau jump straight into one of the top five leagues in Europe when the time is right, but it is not always the case that a lesser European league is a step back in one’s career.

Playing in a league such as Denmark may be more of a stepping stone, and it does open avenues onto bigger and greater things.

A prime example would be Lebogang Phiri who made a name for himself in Denmark before earning a move to Ligue 1. There is also the case of Tokelo Rantie who used Sweden as a thoroughfare before earning a move to England

Nonetheless, with an offer from Rostov on the table, there is also a case that the Russian Premier League is stronger than the PSL or at least on par with it.

Financially, it is a very strong league with the petrol dollars of clubs such as Zenit St Petersburg and CSKA Moscow ruling the roost. Tau could also learn a lot from the likes of MacBeth Sibaya and Matthew Booth who enjoyed relatively successful careers playing in Russia

However, it should be noted that elements such as culture, weather and not forget racism which has been prevalent in that region could test the character of the Tau, just as it did with Siyanda Xulu who made the exact same move to Rostov a few years back but found the going tough.

For a player like Tau who has been blessed with such an amazing ability and a future as bright as sun, a move now perhaps is not the right time.

Tau’s current contract is set to run out in 2019 which means Sundowns will be in no rush to cash in on him, and he perhaps should spend at least another six-months perfecting his trade, but at the same time he should be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the likes of Teko Modise and Sibusiso Vilakazi who were touted to make big moves abroad, but eventually failed.  

While no South African football fan wishes to see Tau become another statistic of South African footballers who entered the European stage only to return home a season later, a move needs to be well thought out like in the case of a former Sundowns star Bongani Zungu. Tau could learn a lot from the 25-year-old and perhaps one day could go on to achieve even greater success.