Seagulls loan ace Tau sent off but Brugge win boosts his work permit chances

Brighton and Hove Albion
Club Brugge are believed to be leading the race to sign Brighton forward Percy Tau on a season-long loan deal.

Percy Tau was sent off as Club Brugge knocked Dynamo Kiev out of the Champions League and their progress helps his chances of earning a UK work permit.

Brighton and Hove Albion signed Tau from Mamelodi Sundowns just over a year ago but the South Africa international did not meet the stringent Home Office criteria in order to get to play.

He impressed while on loan at Union SG last year, scoring 13 goals and assisting 13 others in the Belgian second flight.

And a move to Club Brugge on a similar loan basis seemed to make sense this summer, with the Seagulls hoping to see him earn enough credits for a work permit by playing in European club competitions from the group stages.

In order to do this, Club Brugge needed to negotiate two rounds of qualifying and they cleared the first hurdle on Tuesday, with a 3-3 draw away in Kiev seeing them advance 4-3 on aggregate.

Tau got harshly sent off with just minutes remaining and will miss the first leg of Club Brugge’s winnable play-off tie against LASK Linz, but his club might be tempted to appeal the suspension.

The Bafana Bafana star received a second yellow card for barging into the opposing keeper, earning the first sending off of his career. He had been initially booked as early as the ninth minute for dissent after disagreeing with a refereeing decision and left the field in tears.

Tau could also qualify for a work permit if South Africa rise up the FIFA world rankings. They are currently 70th – still 20 places below the top-50 ranking he needs.

A player not meeting the usual qualification conditions can be granted permission to play in the UK if he is deemed to be “internationally established at the highest level and that his employment will make a significant contribution to the development of football at the highest level in England.”

And that is where Brighton appear to be pinning their hopes on Tau and Brugge causing a stir in the Champions League group stages.