Mamelodi Sundowns star midfielder Percy Tau is ready for the bright lights and glossy pitches of Europe, but whoever wants to have him will have to dig deep into their pockets.
This is the view of Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, who said the 23-year-old star could leave Chloorkop as early as the next transfer window between June and August.
But the wily Mosimane warned that the in-demand player’s price tag would be substantial as Sundowns have made a substantial investment in the player’s development.
"With players from other countries in Africa‚ it is easier for them to move overseas because they don’t earn big salaries.
"But in our case‚ we have made a substantial investment in Percy and we want a return on our investment‚" he said.
"We look after the players and let’s look at the business side of things. It was the same with Keegan Dolly. We gave him game time‚ training‚ contracts and all those things.
"Sometimes it doesn’t balance properly with the amount of money that the big European clubs want to pay for South African players.
"In SA we pay more in terms salaries and those things bring a lot of challenges when players are supposed to go.
"When European teams go to Tunisia and Egypt‚ they know that they have to pay the right amount of money. SA is at that level and we are one of the biggest countries in Africa."
Mosimane said the time has arrived for Tau to leave SA and he is good enough to play in any of the top five leagues in Europe: La Liga in Spain‚ the Bundesliga in Germany‚ the English Premier League‚ Serie A in Italy and Ligue 1 in France.
"Anything is possible‚ he can leave anytime‚" Mosimane said.
"I have said that if it’s one of the top five leagues in Europe why would you hold on to him?
"That would not be fair.
"Some of the clubs … have a lot of money. They must not say that we are going to Africa to pay less and when you go to South America you pay $30m.
"Percy has played in the Champions League‚ for Bafana Bafana and at the Club World Cup and this tells you that he is not an average player.
"This is not a player who must go for trials.
"One of the big things about him is that he has played two games with flu. I told him that it is risky and legally we could be in trouble, but the doctor checked him and told us that it is not on the borderline. That shows what kind of player he is.
"This is the player whose brother died and he was buried on Saturday and he came and wanted to play on Tuesday.
"The boy is on another level mentally‚ he puts his body on the line."