Sport

English football clubs the biggest spenders

Mike Collett

English Premier League clubs spent a record £725mn in this season's transfer windows, with Man United's Juan Mata the most expensive January signing.

Juan Mata was the most expensive signing in the January transfer window. (AP)

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and other managers may not like it, but English Premier League football clubs still spent more than ever in a generally sluggish January transfer window that ended on Friday.

There were few deals of note across Europe not involving English clubs, while Real Madrid and Barcelona, the richest clubs in the world, did not even spend loose change on new players.

The largest deal on deadline day was in Italy with Brazilian player Hernanes leaving Lazio for Serie A rivals Inter Milan in a transfer media reports put at €20-million.

Wenger has been a consistent critic of the January window. But the Frenchman was forced to act on Friday to shore up his side's ailing midfield, bringing in experienced Sweden international Kim Kallstrom on loan from Spartak Moscow.

Fulham also splashed the cash, buying Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou from Olympiakos Piraeus for an undisclosed fee while allowing Bulgarian front man Dimitar Berbatov to leave on loan for Monaco, which needs cover for injured striker Radamel Falcao.

Big move
The biggest move of the month was Juan Mata's transfer from Chelsea to Manchester United, which paid a club record fee of £37.1-million for the Spanish player.

English clubs had spent a record of more than £725-million pounds in the summer and winter windows for the 2013-14 season when their latest trading finished at 11pm (GMT) on Friday.

Most of that money was splashed out in the summer, with more than £100-million changing hands in England this month.

An analysis by London-based financial analysts Deloitte showed that Premier League clubs have spent slightly more overall than this time last year.

"As we enter the final day of this year's transfer window, Premier League clubs' gross spending currently stands at £95-million," said Dan Jones of Deloitte.

"This is a broadly similar picture to last year, where gross spending at this point totalled ​£85-million. However, regardless of the amount of activity today, we have already seen the 2013-14 season set a record for Premier League transfer spending.

"This season the combined transfer spend of Premier League clubs has passed the £700-million mark for the first time, with spending currently at around £725- million."

Chelsea was among the most active clubs, selling Kevin de Bruyne as well as Mata, with Michael Essien leaving for AC Milan. The club bought Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah and Kurt Zouma for a combined fee of about £55-million as coach Jose Mourinho seeks to mark his return to the club by winning the title.

Slow spenders
In contrast to the high-spending English teams, German clubs kept a low profile with the exception of VfL Wolfsburg, who paid a reported €17-million for De Bruyne.

The Wolves – eager to return to the top after winning the title in 2009, but spending most of the time since then avoiding relegation – brought in seven new players, including Ibrahim Sissoko from St Etienne and three youth team players.

Champions League clubs Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund largely stayed clear of the market, although the latter made a late dash to replace injured midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski with Serbian Milos Jojic.

Bayer Leverkusen, who with Schalke 04 complete a quartet of German teams still in the Champions League, snapped up Valencia's Andres Guardado along with South Korean Seung-Woo Ryu.

Barcelona and Real Madrid were inactive, leaving their cash-strapped La Liga rivals to make minor squad adjustments in an extremely quiet market.

Debt-ridden clubs
Spanish La Liga clubs, many of whom are saddled with crippling debts, spent a mere €3.5-million, according to Barcelona-based agency Prime Time Sport, down from €12-million last year.

The market was calm in France, with Paris St Germain attracting the biggest name in Yohan Cabaye and Monaco making a late swoop for Berbatov and Tunisia centre back Aymen Abdennour on loan from Toulouse with an option for a permanent deal.

French midfielder Cabaye joined from Newcastle United on a three and a half year deal for a reported fee of up to €25-million.

Other notable transactions included Ghana international forward Jordan Ayew being loaned to Sochaux by Olympique Marseille, and former France striker Djibril Cisse joining Bastia from Kuban Krasnodar as a free agent.

In Italy, the more notable deals were Hernanes joining Inter, Essien arriving at Milan and Manchester United midfielder Anderson moving to Fiorentina on loan. – Reuters

Additional reporting by Justin Palmer.

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