The Premier League, which in its current form began nearly 30 years ago, is arguably the toughest league in world football. Few adjust to the pace and physicality of the competition, let alone the torrid weather conditions and non-stop matches. Hence, it is often seen that some players struggle to prove their value in the league during their debut season.
Foreign players, in particular, find it hard to score the same amount of goals as they manage in other leagues around the world. However, there are some exceptions who have impressed during their debut Premier League campaign by scoring 20 or more goals and establishing themselves almost immediately.
On that note, let's take a look at five foreign players who have scored 20 or more goals in their debut Premier League season.
#5 Diego Costa (2014-15 season) - 20 goals
Diego Costa is perhaps the last prolific striker to have played for Chelsea and the Spain international was a joy to watch on the pitch.
Although often in the face of defenders and full of controversial dives & tackles, Costa was a warrior from the time Chelsea signed him in 2014. Jose Mourinho has always appreciated strikers in the mold of Costa and the Brazil-born star certainly delivered the same in the first season itself.
Few expected him to adjust so seamlessly to the Premier League but Costa banged in 20 goals in the 2014-15 season, helping the club lift the league title. The centre-forward lifted the trophy once again in 2017 under Antonio Conte before leaving next season after a falling out with the Italian boss.
Regardless, Chelsea fans shall have fond memories of the aggression and bravado Costa showcased for them during his three seasons at the club. It is worth noting that no player at the west London club has since scored 20 times in one seaon in the league.
#4 Jurgen Klinsmann (1994-95 season) - 20 goals
Although many might know him as a pundit or a coach now, Jurgen Klinsmann was one of the best players in the game during the 80s and the 90s.
After proving to be hugely successful at Stuttgart, Inter Milan & AS Monaco, the German centre-forward joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1994 at the age of 30. Few believed he would be able to replicate his performances in the Premier League but Klinsmann managed to score 20 goals in his one and only season at the club.
The Spurs finished seventh in the league that year after managing to secure 62 points, which was their highest points tally in the Premier League era back then. Klinsmann was a key factor behind this as the German icon proved his mettle in one of the toughest leagues in world football.
#3 Sergio Aguero (2011-12 season) - 23 goals
Sergio Aguero was arguably the best striker in England during the last decade purely because of his sensational consistency over that period.
After arriving for £38 million from Atletico Madrid to Manchester City in 2011, the Argentine excelled in the Premier League like few have managed before. His positioning, pace, and efficiency in front of goal was quite scintillating and it was no surprise that he scored 23 goals in his debut season in the Premier League.
It is also worth noting that Aguero's 23rd goal of the season was arguably the most iconic moment in Manchester City's history. In what was a thrilling title race, he scored in the final seconds of the final game of the season against Queen's Park Rangers to win the Citizens their first Premier League title.
Aguero ended his time at the Etihad in 2021 after scoring 187 league goals for them, making him the fourth highest goal-scorer in the league's history.
#2 Ruud van Nistelrooy (2001-02 season) - 23 goals
Technically talented strikers are a rare sight but Ruud van Nistelrooy was, without a shadow of a doubt, certainly one.
Almost always scoring when in front of goal, the Dutchman was one of the best strikers for Manchester United during the 2000s. Sir Alex Ferguson's expansive football and dynamic squad was led by Van Nistelrooy between 2001-2006.
During this period, he scored 95 league goals for the club as he won the Premier League once. While his most prolific campaign in the English top-flight was in the 2002-03 season (25 goals), his debut campaign (2001-02) was not far off.
A striker with astute finishing skills, Van Nistelrooy bagged 23 goals in his debut Premier League season. His talent was such that it can be argued that Manchester United have not been able to sign another striker like him since he left in 2006.
#1 Fernando Torres (2007-08 season) - 24 goals
Fernando Torres, albeit did not win many trophies with Liverpool, produced the best performances of his professional career while playing for the Reds.
Signed from Atletico Madrid in 2007, Torres took to English football like a duck to water. His slick movement, unstoppable speed and thunderous finishing was incredibly pleasing to the eye for any fan of the game, let alone the Anfield faithful. These factors, coupled with a mesmerizing partnership with Steven Gerrard, led to the former Spain international scoring 25 goals in his debut Premier League season.
Torres ended up scoring 80 times for Liverpool across all competitions during his three-and-a-half years at the club, before making a controversial switch to Chelsea in January 2011.
While many Anfield loyalists will never forgive him for that move, he still holds a fond place in the hearts of many Liverpool fans for his sensational performances for them.