Biggest ‘One Season Wonders’ in the Premier League Era

The Premier League has had some memorable one-season wonders and we look back at five of the best in recent years


Plenty of players have exploded into life in the Premier League before fading very quickly after one season.

Here, we pick out our top 5 “one-season wonders”.

5. Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland 2010-11)

Gyan was a club-record £13million signing for Sunderland in 2010, and he came with a good reputation after registering 13 goals for Rennes in the French top flight.

The Ghana international initially took that form with him to England, scoring on his debut against Wigan when coming off the bench, before hitting two on his first start against West Ham.

Gyan looked ideally suited to the Premier League and ended the campaign with ten goals, but it all fell apart quickly in his second season when he became unsettled off the pitch and was allowed to join Al Ain in the UAE on loan.

4. Amr Zaki (Wigan Athletic 2008-09)

Signed on a season-long loan deal from Egyptian side Zamalek, Zaki was outstanding for Latics to begin with, scoring memorable goals against the likes of West Ham, Hull City, Manchester City and Liverpool as he took the Premier League by storm.

He looked like he would be in contention for the Golden Boot that season alongside Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka and City’s Brazilian forward Robinho, but he began to fade as the campaign moved towards its conclusion and ended with ten goals in total.

He fell out of favour with then Wigan boss Steve Bruce, who branded him “unprofessional” when he returned late from international duty with Egypt four times.

3. Marcus Stewart (Ipswich Town 2000-01)

Stewart had bagged plenty of goals for Huddersfield Town, then helped Ipswich secure promotion to the Premier League when joining them in the second half of the 1999-2000 season.

There were those who wondered if he was good enough for the top flight, but he silenced the doubters with 19 goals the following season to finish as the Premier League’s highest English goalscorer that year as Ipswich landed themselves a place in the UEFA Cup with a fifth-place finish.

It didn’t last, though, for player or club as Stewart hit just six the following season and Town were relegated back down to the Championship.

2. Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn Rovers 2007-08)

Paraguayan centre-forward Santa-Cruz had never quite established himself at Bayern Munich and, in eight seasons with the Bavarian giants, never managed to score more than five goals in one season.

However, he was prolific when first brought to England by Mark Hughes, starring for Blackburn in the 2007-08 season with 19 league goals from 37 appearances.

He was expected to build on that the following year but could only register four goals as he struggled to deal with the raised expectation levels. Hughes signed him for Man City in 2009 for £17.5million, but he was a flop there, managing just four goals in all competitions.

1. Michu (Swansea City 2012-13)

Michu was a revelation in his debut campaign with Swansea, notching 18 Premier League goals, including a memorable brace on the opening day at QPR, which set the tone.

The Spaniard arrived as a relative unknown after joining from Rayo Vallecano, but by the end of the 2012-13 season was being linked with a £20million move to Champions League clubs, such was his fine finishing and easy-on-the-eye link-up play in a white shirt.

He also helped the Swans win the League Cup that year, scoring three goals, including one in the 5-0 final win over Bradford City, but he failed to back it up the following season and only managed two league goals as he began to struggle with a persistent ankle injury.

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.
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