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Roque Santa Cruz
The Paraguayan striker spent eight seasons at Bayern Munich and never managed to score more than 5 goals in a single season. This changed when he made a surprise move to Blackburn Rovers in 2007. Santa Cruz was a revelation in England, scoring 19 goals and lead Blackburn to a respectable 7th place finish. This led Man City coughing up £17.5 million for him the following season where he failed to replicate his goalscoring exploits, scoring a measly 3 goals in 19 appearances.
Michu is the first player that comes to most people’s minds when they think of one season wonders. The Spanish forward was a complete unknown on the books at Rayo Vallecano when Swansea City snapped him up for just £2 million ahead of the 2012/13 season. On his Premier League debut, he scored twice and bagged an assist, kick-starting a season where he scored 18 goals from midfield. Ultimately injury problems derailed his career and sadly retired at the age of 31.
Mido arrived at White Hart Lane with a big reputation after prolific seasons at Ajax and Marseille. His first season was plagued by injury but in his second season banged in 11 goals in 22 appearances for Spurs. He looked set to become a permanent fixture in Tottenham’s attack for years to come but his form dropped and he was shipped off to Middlesbrough. He later moved on to West Ham, Wigan before ending his career at Barnsley.
Flanagan broke through into Liverpool’s starting eleven in the as they narrowly missed out on winning the Premier League in 2013/14 season. Playing at left back that campaign he won the ball back an average of five times a game that year. Brazilian legend Cafu even claimed Flanagan had the potential to become a world class full back. Sadly a knee injury ended up spell at Liverpool but his currently playing for Rangers under Steven Gerrard.
Michael Johnson was an exciting prospect with City fans expecting him to become the future of English football. A dynamic box-to-box midfielder, he made 23 appearances in the 07/08 season as a 19-year-old. He came through Man City’s youth academy alongside Joe Hart and Daniel Sturridge and looked set anchor their midfield for the next decade. Once again injury destroyed his career, he spent 15 months out with an abdominal and knee injury. During that time he developed a drinking problem and piled on the weight. He was released in 2012 and retired at the age of 24. Johnson now works as a real estate agent.
Every few years a young English midfielder is hailed as the future of the national team and in 2012 it was Jack Rodwell’s turn. 21 at the time, he had already made 85 appearances for Everton and was at home in the screening role. Man City opened their chequebook and signed the youngster for £17 million. Rodwell spent two seasons at the Etihad, making 25 appearances and was only called up once to the England squad during his time at Man City. Bizarrely Sunderland spent £10 million to bring him to the North East and they suffered two successive relegations. Now Rodwell is turning out for Blackburn in the Championship.
A £400,000 signing in 2000, Ricketts arrived at Bolton as a 22-year-old prospect. He hit 24 goals in his first season with the Trotters to secure promotion to the top flight. It seemed as though he had adapted perfectly to the Premier League the following season, scoring in shock wins over Liverpool and Man United. With the World Cup approaching that summer, Ricketts was called up to the national team for a friendly against the Netherlands. He had a diabolical performance against the Dutch and was subbed off at half-time, ruining his chances of making the 2002 World Cup squad. Instead, Darius Vassell and a 36-year-old Teddy Sheringham made the squad for South Korea.
The Polish shot-stopper arrived at the Hawthorns in 2004 bu made just three appearances in his first season. It still looked like an exciting talent though conceding one goal in three games and was named man of the match after an impressive performance against Man United. An injury to Chris Kirkland gave Kuszczak meant he got more playing time and though the Baggies got relegated the 23-year-old was a shining light. He also won the save of the season award for a Schiemel-esque stop against Wigan. Later Man United spent £4 million to acquire his services and he enjoyed a six spell at Old Trafford making 32 league appearances.
Captain of Leicesters magical title-winning season in 2016, Morgan played every minute of the Foxes campaign. Organising a defence which conceded 36 goals in the league, under a goal a game. That season Leicester conceded three or more goals on one occasion in a 5-2 home defeat against Arsenal. As champions they leaked goals at the back, conceding three or more goals on eight occasions, 63 goals overall and dropped from 81 points to 44. Suddenly Morgan looked like what he was, a mediocre defender whose flaws were concealed by a smart system and the superhuman brilliance of N’Golo Kante.
In January 2012, Newcastle signed Cisse to partner fellow countryman Demba Ba up front. For five months everything Cisse hit went in, netting 13 goals in 14 games including a stunning brace against Chelsea to propel the Magpies to a fifth-place finish. He proved unable to maintain his strike rate, managing just 8 goals in the next season. The Senegalese never again looked like the goal machine that fans dubbed the air to Shearer’s throne in 2012.
List of Honorable Mentions:
- Charlie Adams
- Michael Bridges
- Jamie Vardy
- Mikael Forssell
- Peter Odemwingie
- Asamoah Gyan
- Demba Ba
- Amir Zaki