Michu, Santa Cruz, Cisse: The Premier League's 8 best one-season wonders

Michael Ricketts celebrates scoring for Bolton

Everyone loves a one-season wonder.

While someone playing consistently at the peak of their powers is destined for greatness, there is little as satisfying as watching a player hit heights neither he nor anyone else expected him to reach before fading into obscurity.

But who are the best one-season wonders in Premier League history? Read on to find out.


Michu had started to make a name for himself in his homeland, scoring 15 goals in 37 La Liga games for Rayo Vallecano, before he signed for Swansea in the summer of 2012. Still, he was far from a household name, and no one knew what to expect when he rocked up at the Liberty Stadium.


He started off with a bang, scoring twice on his debut against Queens Park Rangers, and scored 13 Premier League goals before the New Year. He ended the campaign with 18, and his drop in form after Christmas should have been a warning.

He scored just two more league goals before joining Napoli in 2014 and, within 12 months, he was playing fourth-tier Spanish football at the age of just 29.

Mikael Forssell

Finland international Forssell was struggling to make an impact at Chelsea when he moved on loan to Birmingham City ahead of the 2003/04 campaign.

Mikael Forssell

The striker was on fire at St. Andrew’s, scoring 17 times in 32 games as the ‘Blues’ finished a comfortable 10th in the Premier League. His tally was more than any player managed at his parent club, while he was the league’s fifth-top goalscorer for the campaign.

That was as good as it got. After completing a permanent move to the Midlands in 2005, he managed just 12 more goals in the top-flight before his 2008 departure. Only back in his homeland with HJK Helsinki could he come anywhere close to matching his previous goalscoring feats.

Marcus Stewart

Given their current League One status, it is hard to imagine Ipswich as a contender for the European spots in the Premier League, but that was the case during the 2000/01 season.



The ‘Tractor Boys’ ended up qualifying for the UEFA Cup after finishing fifth in the table, primarily down to Stewart, who scored 19 goals in 34 matches.

However, both he and his club were one-season wonders in this case. Ipswich were relegated to the First Division the following campaign, with Stewart managing just six goals in 28 games. He never played in the Premier League again.

Amr Zaki

Zaki was so good during his first six months at Wigan Athletic, he was even linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Amr Zaki

After joining on a one-year loan from Zamalek in 2008, he scored ten goals before January and was, at one point, third in the goalscoring charts behind Nicolas Anelka and Robinho.

However, not a single league goal came after Christmas. His unprofessionalism was an understandable bugbear for manager Steve Bruce, and the Latics decided not to extend his stay.

Zaki spent the majority of the rest of his career in Egypt, although he did have a short, unsuccessful spell at Hull City, and also refused to join Portsmouth due to the presence of two Algerians and one Israeli in the squad. Charming.

Roque Santa Cruz

Given the eight years he spent with German giants Bayern Munich, it is surprising Santa Cruz scored at least ten league goals in just one season during his time in Europe.

Roque Santa Cruz

That particular term came in 2007/08 with Blackburn Rovers, of all teams. In 34 Premier League outings, he hit the back of the net 19 times as the Ewood Park outfit finished seventh in the table.

Just four goals in 20 games the following season did not stop Manchester City from spending £17.5m on him in 2010 during their more-money-than-sense days. Three goals in 20 league games confirmed the Paraguayan’s status as a one-season wonder.

Michael Ricketts

It is sometimes worth reminiscing about Sam Allardyce’s Bolton side of the early 2000s. The Wanderers had some truly talented players on their hands in Youri Djorkaeff, Fredi Bobic, Jay-Jay Okocha… and Michael Ricketts?

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Okay, maybe the striker shouldn’t be compared to the others, but Ricketts was unstoppable for the opening six months of Bolton’s first campaign back in the Premier League in 2000/01.

By February, he had 15 goals in all competitions, including 12 in the Premier League, with his form even earning him an England call-up. However, his appearance against the Netherlands would prove to be his only cap, and he didn’t score again for Bolton that season.

He netted six times in 22 games the following term and failed to hit double figures in a league season for any one of the several clubs he went on to play for before retiring in 2010.

Saido Berahino

Technically, Berahino is the only player who could get his name removed from this list – he is only 28, after all – but that seems unlikely.

Now playing for Sheffield Wednesday in League One, there was once a time when the forward’s star shone brightly. During the 2014/15 campaign, to be exact, when he scored 14 goals in 38 league matches and attracted interest from Tottenham.

Saido Berahino

Just four goals in 31 Premier League appearances the next season followed, with his attitude often awakening the wrath of Tony Pulis. He then failed to score in two consecutive campaigns at Stoke before netting three in 23 league matches in the third prior to a switch to Belgium.

There was promise at Zulte Waregem, but it soon faded. Ultimately, Berahino’s career at the highest level already looks over.

Papiss Cisse

Few will forget Cisse’s outrageous goal against Chelsea during the 2011/12 campaign, when he smashed the ball with the outside of his boot from the touchline into the top corner and over an outstretched Petr Cech.

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Who moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000?

That was one of 13 Premier League strikes in 14 matches for Cisse that season after signing from Freiburg in January. His partnership with Senegal compatriot Demba Ba helped Newcastle to a fifth-place finish, which they have failed to match since.

Cisse’s inclusion on this list is probably the harshest, given he ended up with 44 strikes in 131 games for the ‘Magpies’, but he came nowhere close to matching his immediate impact. He is now at Fenerbahce after a successful spell with Alanyaspor.

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