The English Premier League has flexed its financial muscles in the transfer market and comes out on top of the big spenders across Europe.
The Soccerex Transfer Review by Prime Time Sport has released figures showing that the Premier League clubs spent a mammoth 52 per cent of the total investment on players across the top five leagues in Europe this winter.
Premier League spending topped €150million (£125m) compared to €53m (£44.2m) in the French Ligue 1, €42m (£35m) in the Italian Serie A, €33m (£27.5m) in the German Bundesliga and just €12m (£10m) in the Spanish La Liga.
The confidence given from the new collective broadcast deals for English clubs is highlighted by the fact that the spending is also spread across more clubs in England than any other in Europe.
Whilst Chelsea and Manchester United top the European spending, with €52.8m (£44m) and €45m (£37.5m) respectively, Fulham (€16.3 million / £13.6m) and Hull City (€15.2 m / £12.7m) also feature in the top 10 of the biggest spenders in Europe.
Interestingly seven of Europe's biggest names, Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona made no investment during the winter window.
Indeed, it is the third consecutive year that Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have made no purchases.
Chelsea - Kings of the Winter Window
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in the last five seasons have had both the highest expenditure (€180m / £150m) and most sales (€82m / £68.3m) during the winter window.
Chelsea this year topped both tables again spending €45m (£37.5m) on players whilst recouping €62m (£51.7m). They also released the highest number of players in Europe at 13.
The importance of the loan market is highlighted in both Serie A and the Premier League. In Serie A, 76% of the players leaving the league went out on loan to other clubs. The Premier League recruited 41% of the new players on loan, a significant growth from 29% in 2012.
As UEFA Financial Fair Play comes in to full effect, the net decrease of players in the Premier League has also reached an all-time high. The net figure of -83 in 2013 is more than double the figure for the Premier League in 2012 (40).
Italy remains the leading nation, however, with a net figure of -177. This is the fourth consecutive year that both leagues have shown a growing net decrease. Parma released the highest number of players with 40 leaving the club this winter. The total number of players signed by the top five leagues in Europe was down by 14% to 257.
European spending is down 4.3% to €290m (£241.7m) in 2014. However, total spending in the 2013 transfer windows is up to a record high of €2.4billion (£2b) - an increase of 32% on 2012. Investment seems to equal improved performance - the top six spending clubs in the Premier League have increased their points ratio so far this season.
To read the full Soccerex Transfer Review by Prime Time Sport, go to http://mysoccerex.com/Soccerex_Transfer_Review_2014_winter_edition.pdf