Five one-season wonders of modern football
The term ‘one-season wonder’ rings a few appalling bells amongst football fans. Over the years, the spectators have witnessed an individual tearing everything apart with his sensational skills, and as the year progresses, all that was earned suddenly falls back on the ground as reality hits hard.
This three-word description though is usually associated with a striker, simply because scoring goals is the ultimate aim of the game. Technically though, it is not only reserved for the frontmen.
That said, we give you five one-season wonders of modern football.
Kasper Dolberg (Ajax)
When Danish scout John Steen Olsen recommended Ajax to sign Kasper Dolberg in 2015, eyebrows were raised, and for all right reasons. Olsen, after all, is credited for the discovery of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Christian Eriksen and Viktor Fischer.
For Dolberg, after progressing through Ajax’s De Toekomst youth academy, he enjoyed a stellar debut season, being his team’s main man up front and scoring goals for fun. In 29 league appearances in the 2016-17 Eredivisie season, the Dane scored a whopping 16 goals.
A natural talent in front of the goal, comparisons with Ibrahimovic started doing rounds. His stakes eventually went higher when he was named Ajax’s Young Player of the Season and also bagged the Johan Cruyff award.
His downfall, however, started in the following season where he managed just six goals in 23 league games. He did score 11 goals in the 2018-19 season, but competing with the likes of Dusan Tadic and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for the first team under Erik ten Hag was next to impossible.
From being tipped as the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dolberg joined the bandwagon of those who were forgotten after their one-season wonder. As things stand, the young Dane now plies his trade with the Ligue 1 side Nice.
Saido Berahino (West Brom)
Striker Saido Berahino took the Premier League by storm in the 2014/15 season when he bagged 14 goals in 38 appearances. Compared to the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Jermain Defoe, he was largely praised for his deadly finishes.
His exploits eventually gathered interest from Tottenham Hotspur, who, in 2015, tabled an official bid for the striker. But as his side failed to agree on a transfer fee with the London club, the striker vented his frustration on Twitter, saying that he would never play for West Brom ever again.
“Sad how I can’t say exactly how the club has treated me, but I can officially say I will never play (for) Jeremy Peace,” he tweeted.
Right from scoring goals for fun, Berahino’s career went downhill after the Tottenham offer. So much so that he once failed score in 913 days and suffered from depression during his time with Stoke City.
Vincent Janssen (AZ)
In only his debut Eredivisie season with AZ, Janssen took the world by storm, scoring a whopping 31 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions. And with Tottenham struggling to find competition for Harry Kane, they decided to bring the Dutchman to England.
In his first season with the club, Janssen scored two goals in 27 appearances which prompted the Lily Whites to send him on loan to Fenerbahce. He did score a few important goals for the Turkish side, but upon returning to Tottenham in 2018, the club decided not to give him a squad number. After being out for most of the 2018/19 season, he was sold to the Mexican side Monterrey.
In 20 league games for his new club this season, the Netherlands international has bagged a mere five goals.
Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton)
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin was the heartbeat of Southampton, and his role progressed, even more, when Ronald Koeman was appointed as his new manager in the 2014/15 season. Lining up alongside the likes of Tadic and Victor Wanyama, the Frenchman wreaked havoc, which forced Manchester United to rope in him as one of their marquee signings under Louis van Gaal.
In his very first season with the club, the midfielder scored a solitary goal and an assist in 54 appearances in all competitions. Once tipped as the natural successor of Michael Carrick at United, Schneiderlin’s career took a dip when United decided to let go of him, with Everton pouncing on the opportunity in January 2017.
It’s been two-and-a-half years since Schneiderlin moved to Everton and he still only has one goal during the tenure.
Tiemoue Bakayoko (Monaco)
Tiemoue Bakayoko was one of the key players during AS Monaco’s title-winning season. Combining his physical strength with an immaculate reading of the situation, big things were expected of him. So, watching Chelsea make him their second-most expensive signing in 2017 wasn’t a surprise, to say the least.
The move, however, turned out to be a complete disaster. In his very first season in England, he failed to impress the fans as well as the manager after putting in inconsistent displays.
Eventually, in August 2018, he was shipped to Italy to join AC Milan on loan. Playing under Gennaro Gattuso, the midfielder continued his poor run of form, prompting the club legend to voice his frustration out in the open.
"Bakayoko has to learn how to get the ball," Gattuso said. "We must work correctly. It will not be easy."
"One week is not enough to remove the defects of a player. I would have preferred to be managing older, more experienced club players."
His tenure was not only marred by poor performances but he was also subjected to racial abuse by the Lazio fans. By the end of the 2018/19 season, the midfielder moved back to Monaco on loan after making 31 league appearances and with a solitary goal to his name.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Valeri Hache, Yuri Kadobnov
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