5 one-season wonders in the Premier League and what happened to them eventually
When we talk about prolific goalscorers in the Premier League, the names of Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Didier Drogba, Alan Shearer and more recently, Mo Salah and Harry Kane come to our mind.
All the aforementioned players have inducted themselves into the history books, be it for the most number of goals scored in a particular season or for their consistency levels in front of goal.
We have seen over the years that football is a funny old game, not only because it is full of drama, emotions, twists and turns, but the ebbs and tides in the careers of various players; the decline of a generation of stars and the simultaneous rise of a new generation also keeps the fans interested in the beautiful game.
Well, no matter how talented you are, consistency is one of the key traits that separate the best from the rest quite often, not only in the Premier League but anywhere in the world for that matter.
Over the years, we have seen that those who manage to sustain their impressive goalscoring form for a considerable period of time end up carving out a big reputation for themselves in football.
However, as unforgiving as the beautiful game can sometimes be to the erratic and inconsistent performers, players often tend to fade into obscurity following a promising start to their career and are hardly recognised by the fans years after their retirement.
They do not earn a place amongst the all-time greats in football but it would be fair to say that they hold a special place in our hearts, nonetheless.
Let us take a look at 5 one-season wonders in the Premier League in recent times and what eventually happened to them.
1. Saido Berahino – 14 goals (2014-15)
The West Brom academy graduate burst on to the scene as a talented youngster back in the 2013-14 season, scoring a hat-trick against Newport County, as well as the winner against Man United at Old Trafford.
However, it was the 2014-15 campaign where he rose to prominence and netted a staggering 20 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions, including 14 in the Premier League.
The former England U-21 star bagged the Players’ Player of the Year award at the end of the 2014-15 season for his stellar run of form but his career has gone totally off track ever since.
Berahino netted 4 goals in 31 appearances for the Baggies in the Premier League in the following season before joining Stoke City in January 2017.
The Burundian international stayed with the Potters even after their relegation from the top-flight but he was never really able to replicate that sort of blistering form.
A poor strike rate of 5 goals in 56 games and various other reasons saw Stoke City terminate Berahino’s contract in 2019.
Now 25, he is without a club, and a career that started with such a lot of promise is on the brink of fading into obscurity, although he still has time on his side to go on and fulfil his promise.
2. Michu – 18 goals (2012-13)
A wonderful 2011-12 season in the La Liga which yielded 15 goals for Rayo Vallecano earned Michu a coveted move to the Premier League with Swansea City back in the summer of 2012.
The Spaniard was an instant hit at the Wales-based club and got off to an incredible start to his Premier League career, eventually finishing the campaign with 18 goals. Michu’s heroics helped Swansea City to not only win the League Cup but also secure Europa League qualification.
Well, what followed after that is history and the fans wouldn’t like to recall his dramatic fall in English football. Michu earned a call-up to Spain’s national team but his career went into an absolute freefall after that and the playmaking forward was never able to rediscover his mojo.
He scored only twice in the Premier League in the following season and was shipped out on loan to Napoli in the summer of 2014 before eventually being released from the club towards the end of 2015.
Thereafter, Michu had a stint at Spanish lower division club UP Langreo and subsequently moved on to his boyhood club Real Oviedo, of which he is now the technical secretary after hanging up his boots at the age of 31.
3. Asamoah Gyan – 10 goals (2010-11)
Sunderland apparently bagged a massive coup in the summer of 2010 by snapping up one of the stars of Ghana’s 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign, as the Black Cats brought in Asamoah Gyan from French club Rennes.
And the Ghanaian showed in his debut season in England what an influential presence he can be up front.
Gyan netted a brace in a 2-0 victory over Stoke City in his first Premier League start and followed it up with an equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Spurs.
The Ghanaian also made a key contribution in Sunderland’s 3-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and finished the season with 11 goals in all competitions.
However, he was on the move once again in the following summer, with an offer from UAE club Al Ain proving too tempting for him to resist.
Gyan went on to establish himself as a prolific goalscorer in the Middle East before having a spell in China with Shanghai SIPG. He returned to European football with Kayserispor in 2017 and currently plies his trade in the Turkish top-flight.
4. Amr Zaki – 10 goals (2008-09)
The towering 6ft 1in Egyptian centre-forward took the Premier League by storm during his loan spell at Wigan Athletic in the 2009-10 season and his short stay in England proved to be a memorable one.
The bulky striker bulldozed his way to as many as 5 goals in 6 games and earned plenty of plaudits for his stunning volley against Liverpool at Anfield.
However, his indisciplined and unprofessional approach prompted Wigan not to make his loan deal from Zamalek permanent and the Egyptian’s career went into a downward spiral after that.
Zaki returned to the Premier League on loan at Hull City but failed to find the net even once, whilst mediocre spells at Elagizspor, ENPPI, Raja Casablanca, Al-Salmiya and Al-Ahed didn’t enhance his reputation whatsoever.
Faced with the prospect of being without a club upon his release from El Mokawloon, Zaki retired from professional football in 2015.
5. Roque Santa-Cruz -19 goals (2007-08)
The towering 6ft 4in Paraguayan centre-forward became a marquee signing for Blackburn Rovers when he made his move to Ewood Park from Bayern Munich back in the summer of 2007.
Presented with the No.9 shirt, Santa-Cruz scored 19 goals in his debut season in the Premier League and in doing so, helped Blackburn to a 7th-place finish in the league.
The Paraguayan finished as the fourth top-scorer in the Premier League in the 2007-08 campaign but he caught cold feet after that and never really hit the same heights.
A tally of just 4 goals in the 2008-09 campaign didn’t prevent him from earning a move to Man City, however, he managed to find the net only thrice in 19 appearances for the Citizens in the 2009-10 season.
Santa-Cruz resurrected his career with decent spells in the La Liga with Real Betis and Malaga before returning to South America to join Mexican champions Cruz Azul in 2014.
Now 37, Roque Santa-Cruz is very much at the twilight of his career and a near-forgotten figure in football, plying his trade in the Paraguayan top-flight with Olimpia Asuncion.