France led the way as the top five leagues in Europe spent a record 573.2 million dollars on new players from abroad in the January transfer window, the ruling body FIFA said on Friday.
According to FIFA's Transfer Window Analysis, Ligue 1 clubs spent 188.1 million dollars, led by Paris Saint Germain's signing of Germany midfielder Julian Draxler for some 45 million dollars.
England's Premier League, normally the biggest spenders, dished out 169.5 million dollars, Germany's Bundesliga 122.7 million, Spain's La Liga 56.5 million and Italy's Serie A 36.4 million.
FIFA said that spending grew by 50.3 per cent while the number of transfers in the five leagues grew by only 3.4 per cent.
Global spending meanwhile was 856.3 million dollars for 3,085 January transfers in 161 of FIFA's 211 member associations. Only 14.6 per cent of the transfers involved a transfer fee, with 62.2 per cent of the moving players out of contract and 26 per cent leaving on loan or returning from loan spells.
The global transfers include big-money moves to China of the likes of Lucas (Chelsea) and Carlos Tevez (Boca Juniors).
FIFA's Transfer Matching System (TMS) was set up in 2010 to make transfers more transparent and to protect under-age players. The TMS system only takes into account international transfers and not moves within leagues.
The French clubs not only spent the most money on 77 incoming players, while receiving 33.3 million dollars for 73 out going players, the figure of 188.1 million are also more than they dished out in the summer transfer window where figures are normally higher.
The Premier League almost had a balanced transfer period, spending 169.5 million dollars on 146 new players while raking in 167.6 million for 151 departing players.
Germany's Bundesliga spendings were a record at 122.7 million dollars for 98 players while the clubs received only 68.3 million for 71 outgoing players, with Draxler's transfer accounting for two-thirds of the overall income.
La Liga clubs paid 56.5 million dollars for 127 players and got 18.7 million for 65 players; and the Serie A was the only league with a surplus, earning 48.3 million dollars for 74 departing players while spending a record low 36.4 million dollars for 72 incoming players.