Top 7 Premier League One Season Wonders
The Premier League has seen many a talented players over the years but some shine for far brighter than others. Be it a golden oldie enjoying an indian summer or simply someone who hit the ground running before fizzling out, FREEbets.org.uk takes a look at seven players that lit up the league albeit for just the one season.
7. Pascal Chimbonda - Wigan 2005-06
Arriving as an unknown quantity on UK shores, Chimbonda joined the Latics for their first ever Premier League season and ended up being arguably their biggest star as they defied all expectations to finish 10th. The right back featured in all but one of Wigan's Premier League outings and also helped the club reach the 2006 League Cup final. He ended the season being named in the PFA Team of the Year and quite incredibly named in the France squad for the 2006 World Cup. He departed Wigan at the end of the season for Tottenham and despite also having spells at Sunderland and Blackburn, he never quite re-discovered the form of that stunning first season.
6. Esteban Cambiasso - Leicester 2014-15
Having played for both Real Madrid and Inter Milan as well as winning over 50 caps for Argentina, it was somewhat of a surprise that 34-year-old Esteban Cambiasso rocked up at the King Power Stadium in 2014. The Foxes had just won promotion to the Premier League and Nigel Pearson sought to bring in an experienced head to help them along the way. The veteran Argie proved to be an inspired signing, scoring his first goal for the club in a famous 5-3 victory over Manchester United. His influence was particularly felt at the back end of the campaign when he was one of the most influential figures during the club's impressive end to the season when they won seven of their last nine games. Cambiasso scored the first goal in a 2-1 victory over West Ham that kick started that run and his influence was clear to the Foxes fans who voted him as the club's player of the season. Despite this he ultimately ended up deciding to sign for Olympiakos at the end of the season though Leicester coped just fine without him the following season...
5. Asamoah Gyan - Sunderland 2010-11
The Ghanian striker arrived on Wearside for a club-record fee of £13 million and he made an instant impact for Steve Bruce's side. He was a potent force in attack alongside on-loan Danny Welbeck and the duo both scored in the club's stunning 3-0 win away to Chelsea. He endeared himself further to the Stadium of Light faithful when he scored a 94th minute equaliser against bitter rivals Newcastle. Though his season was ended prematurely with a hamstring injury, he scored a very respectful 10 goals in 31 Premier League games as the Black Cats finished 10th. He played in three games the following season before making a lucrative move to Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, swapping Sunderland for Abu Dhabi and trebling his pay packet in the process.
4. Amr Zaki - Wigan 2008-09
The Egyptian striker joined Wigan in 2008 and began life in the North-West in fine form, scoring five goals in his first six games for the club. He won plenty of plaudits and looked to be a real gem of a find. He then scored a brace at Anfield in a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool including a stunning overhead kick to further emphasise his burgeoning talent. Plenty of big clubs stood up and took notice with Liverpool routinely linked with a swoop for the striker. He was compared to Alan Shearer by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan but as the season wore on, it became evident this was a huge oversight. In April of 2009 he returned late from international duty and Wigan boss Steve Bruce described Zaki as the most unprofessional player he had ever worked with. With such a damning indictment, it's clear to see why the club opted against signing him permanently despite a return of 10 goals in 29 games.
3. Roque Santa Cruz - Blackburn 2007-08
Mark Hughes signed the Paraguayan striker from Bayern Munich for £3.5 million in 2007 and it was money very well spent by the then Rovers boss. Santa Cruz enjoyed a prolific season in Lancashire in which he scored 19 league goals and 23 in all competitions. It made him the English top flight's fourth top scorer for the season and when you consider the three men above him, it was quite the feat. Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres and Emanuel Adebayor were the trio to outscore Santa Cruz and it looked for all the World like Blackburn had a genuine top class talent in their ranks. His second season at Ewood Park was not as successful, scoring only four times in 20 games. This did not deter Manchester City spending £17.5 million on him in the summer of 2009 but Santa Cruz never got near the same level as in his debut Premier League campaign.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Manchester United 2016-17
Premier League fans had long been desperate to catch a glimpse of Ibra in English football and the enigmatic Swedish star signed for Manchester United to link up with his former Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho. Amidst much fanfare, he did not disappoint scoring four times in his four league games and ended the season with a total of 17 league goals. Not bad for a 35-year-old in their first campaign in English football eh? His season was cut short in April after suffering a knee injury in the Europa League but that's not before he had almost single-handedly dragged United to the first trophy of the season. Ibrahimovic scored twice in the EFL Cup final win over Southampton, opening the scoring with a free-kick and then netting the winner three minutes from time in the 3-2 victory.
1. Michu - Swansea 2012-13
The Swans pulled off a real coup to bring the unknown Spaniard to South Wales in 2012. Michu had scored 15 goals in La Liga for Rayo Vallecano so for a fee of £2 million, it always looked like they may have a potential gem on their hands. That's exactly what he proved to be as he scored 18 times over the course of the league campaign, including twice on his debut in a 5-0 win at QPR and another brace in a famous win over Arsenal. As well as an incredible showing in the Premier League, he was also influential in the League Cup where he scored in the semi-final away to Chelsea and the second goal in the final win over Bradford. He even ended the season with a call up to the Spain squad but almost as quickly as Michu had taken the Premier League by storm he soon faded in to obscurity. Injuries and a change of manager mid way through his second season saw the beginning of the end of his spell with Swansea and he left on loan to Napoli in 2014. Injuries meant he barely featured for the Italians and his career continued to be plagued with knocks as he moved back to Spain to lower league sides. At the age of just 31, Michu was forced to retire at the end of the 2016-17 season but his place in Swansea and Premier League folklore is assured.