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Soccer-English clubs still breaking records in sluggish market

Reuters

* English clubs spend record sum in summer and winter windows

* Biggest deadline-day deal sees Brazilian Hernanes join Inter

* United's Mata swoop is most expensive signing of the window (Updates after transfer window closes)

By Mike Collett

LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Arsene Wenger and other managers may hate it but English Premier League clubs still spent more than ever in a generally sluggish January transfer window which 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 playmaker Hernanes leaving Lazio for Serie A rivals Inter Milan in a transfer media reports put at 20 million euros ($27.13 million).

Arsenal manager Wenger has been a consistent critic of the January window but the Frenchman was forced to act on Friday to shore up the Premier League 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 who need cover for injured striker Radamel Falcao.

The biggest move of the month was Juan Mata's transfer from Chelsea to Manchester United, who paid a club-record fee of 37.1 million pounds ($60.97 million) for the Spanish playmaker.

English clubs spent a record of more than 725 million pounds over the summer and winter windows for the 2013-14 season when their latest trading finished at 2300 GMT on Friday.

Most of that money was splashed out in the summer - with over 100 million pounds changing hands in England this month.

SLIGHTLY HIGHER

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

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

"This is a broadly similar picture to last year, where gross spending at this point totalled 85 million pounds.

"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 pounds mark for the first time, with spending currently at around 725 million pounds."

BUSY CHELSEA

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

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 euros ($22.93 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.

La Liga clubs, many of whom are saddled with crippling debts, spent a mere 3.5 million euros, 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.

France midfielder Cabaye joined from Newcastle United on a 3-1/2 year deal for a reported fee of up to 25 million euros.

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.

($1 = 0.6085 British pounds)

($1 = 0.7415 euros) (Additional reporting by Justin Palmer; Editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris)

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