English Premier League clubs were once again the biggest spenders in Europe in the January transfer window, splashing out around 130 million pounds ($213 million) to break the record for the season as a whole.
Figures released by football finance experts Deloitte on Saturday showed that teams in England's top division had an outlay of 760 million pounds ($1.25 billion) over the summer and January windows, shattering the previous record of 670 million pounds from the 2008/09 season.
The Premier League is midway through the first year of lucrative television deals that are generating more than $8.5 billion through 2016.
"The transfer spending is supported by the record level of revenues of Premier League clubs, driven primarily by new broadcast agreements," said Dan Jones, of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. "This gives Premier League clubs the ability to continue to invest significantly in their playing talent."
France's top clubs were the second heaviest spenders in Europe in January, according to Deloitte, although their total outlay was only around 40 percent of the Premier League.
Italy spent 30 percent and Germany 20 percent of the Premier League total, while the spending of top-flight teams in Spain — the World Cup holders but a country still gripped by the economic recession — was exceeded by the emerging markets of Russia and Turkey.
The outlay in the Premier League was skewed as signings made by two clubs — Manchester United and Chelsea — accounted for more than 60 percent of the division's total spending.
Spain playmaker Juan Mata joined United for a club-record fee of 37.1 million pounds ($61.2 million) from Chelsea, which spent nearly 50 million pounds on four players including Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah.
Around half of the top-flight clubs — including Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham — chose not to spend this month and Arsenal's only signing was Sweden midfielder Kim Kallstrom on loan.