Not long ago, we did a video on seven players who were wrongly labelled one-season wonders. It went down pretty well, but seemed to whet a lot of viewers appetites for a video looking at some footballers who were genuine one-season wonders.
Today we’re just focussing on the Premier League, and seven players who showed form in a single Premier League campaign which far exceeded anything they did before or after. To make things more interesting, since this is a ‘where are they now’ video after all, I’ve tried to include players who are still active or are at least still involved in the sport.
Here are our 7 Premier League one-season wonders: Where are they now?
7. Asamoah Gyan - Kayserispor
Signing players off the back of a breakout international tournament such as a World Cup is a notoriously dangerous business, but it looked to have paid off for Sunderland back in 2010. Having scored 14 goals in 53 games for Rennes in Ligue 1, Gyan had hardly pulled up any trees in the European game at that point. The Black Cats splashed out a club record £13 million for the Ghanian after some stellar performances at the World Cup in South Africa, and he had a really bright debut campaign in the Premier League.
However, after hitting double figures in his first season, Gyan decided he wanted out the following summer. He penned a lucrative deal with Al-Ain of the UAE, before signing an even more financially beneficial contract with Shanghai SIPG in China. The 33-year-old now plays for Kayserispor in the Turkish Super Lig, where he’s scored 4 goals in 13 games this season.
6. Michael Turner - Southend United
Michael Turner of Southend United celebrates scoring his sides first goal
Not the first name that springs to mind when people think of one-season wonders, since they tend to be almost exclusively attacking players, Michael Turner did have one season which far exceeded all his others in the Premier League. That season was the 2008-09 campaign, which was both Turner’s and Hull City’s first at that level. The towering former Inter Milan apprentice was a titan at the back for Phil Brown, earning calls for selection to the England squad and attracting interest of Rafa Benitez at Liverpool.
That never materialised, and Turner ended up at Sunderland, where his form was much patchier than it had been at Hull City. Now aged 35, Turner has since turned out for the likes of Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham, but is currently a regular for Southend in League One.
5. Stephen Ireland - Free Agent
Stephen Ireland had four half-decent seasons at Manchester City, but one exceptional one, and I’d say he qualifies as a one-season wonder. That season was the 2008-09 campaign, and Ireland would most likely have had a much longer stay at Man City were it not for the heavy investment which followed. In his standout season, the Irishman scored 13 goals in 50 games from midfield, picking up the Manchester City Player of the Year award.
Injuries and big money signings followed, and Ireland joined Aston Villa in 2010. He moved onto Stoke City in 2014, where he made just 5 appearances in his last 2 seasons. Ireland was most recently contracted to Bolton Wanderers, but his contract was mutually terminated before he’d even played a game.
4. Mido - Manager & TV Presenter
Former Tottenham Hotspur player, Mido is interviewed at half time during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham FC at Wembley Stadium on August 18, 2018 in London,...
A fiery but incredibly inconsistent centre-forward, Mido had a habit of starting like a house on fire at clubs before falling away. His early career record at Zamalek, Gent, Ajax and Celta Vigo was phenomenal. He looked like a real handful in his first full season at Tottenham, scoring 11 goals in 27 games, but that was to prove the most consistent of his six-and-a-half seasons in England. His career came to an end after a now rather rotund looking Mido registered just one appearance for Barnsley in the Championship in 2012. He has since moved into management, although he is currently without a club, as well as presenting TV in Egypt.
3. Robinho - Istanbul Basaksehir
Once considered one of the most exciting young footballers in the world, Robinho was a superstar at Santos, and still scored a creditable 15 goals in his final season at Real Madrid. That tally preceded a big money move to Manchester City, where Robinho became a marquee signing by the Citizens new Emirati regime. He matched the tally of his last season at Real, and was probably City’s most gifted and dangerous forward player, but that was just about all she wrote for Robinho in the Premier League.
He failed to score in 10 outings at the start of the following season, before returning to Santos on-loan. Stints at AC Milan, Guangzhou Evergrande and Atletico Mineiro followed, and Robinho was convicted of a pretty horrific crime by Italian courts in 2017, but the 35-year-old Brazilian has been playing for Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir since January 2019.
2. Roque Santa Cruz - Club Olimpia
Roque Santa Cruz of Paraguay celebrates the second goal during a match between Paraguay and Bolivia as part of the 15th round of the South American Qualifiers at Defensores del Chaco...
Despite being one of the oldest players in this seven, Roque Santa Cruz is still going strong at the age of 37 with his boyhood club Club Olimpia. The Paraguay legend has scored 31 goals in 93 games since returning to Olimpia in 2016, the same year that he retired from international football. A five-time Bundesliga title winner at Bayern Munich, Santa Cruz joined Blackburn in 2007, where he scored a fantastic 23 goals in 43 games in his first season under Mark Hughes. Despite a significantly less prolific second season at Ewood Park, Hughes still paid £17.5 million to take Santa Cruz with him to Manchester City.
The South American was a major flop at the Etihad, before going back on-loan to Blackburn where he failed to score in 10 games. Stints at Real Betis, Malaga and Cruz Azul followed, before Santa Cruz returned to Club Olimpia three years ago.
1. Michu - Sporting Director at UP Langreo
The greatest one-seaon wonder of them all, as far as the Premier League era is concerned, in my opinion, has to be Michu. The Spaniard joined Swansea City following an excellent season at Rayo Vallecano, but he was far from a household name, and scoring regularly in La Liga is generally considered a little easier than doing so in the Premier League.
It didn’t seem so for Michu back in 2012-13 though, he started like a house on fire and was an absolute menace in attacking midfield, ending the season with 22 goals from 43 games. His form led to a first cap for Spain and Swansea putting a £30 million price tag on his head. However, Michu’s second season in south Wales saw a dramatic fall from grace, as a recurring ankle injury limited him to just 2 goals from 17 Premier League outings. Moves to Napoli, Langreo and Oviedo followed before Michu called time on his playing career due to the troublesome ankle, and he now works as a sporting director for Langreo.
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