Transfer deadline day: Chelsea dominates January window

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The spending power of the Premier League was underlined as English clubs dominated the January transfer window.

No team was more active than Chelsea, which continued its record-breaking business right up until the deadline by making Enzo Fernandez the most expensive player in British soccer history in a deal worth $131 million.

In total the London club spent around $357 million during the midseason window as American owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital continue to make their presence felt in the transfer market.

Their January outlay follows on from $305 million-worth of signings in the summer after buying the club for $2.5 billion last May.

Chelsea spent more than top-flight teams in France, Spain, Italy and Germany combined as Europe’s other major leagues were modest in their dealings this window.

According to soccer data website Transfermarkt, English teams paid out around $831 million, not including loan payments, while the other four leading leagues spent around $263 million.

January is traditionally a difficult month to get major deals done, with prices inflated as desperation grows for teams in the hunt for trophies, European qualification or survival.

Chelsea’s business was evidence of its determination to secure a place in next season’s Champions League after a troubled campaign so far has left it in 10th place in the standings and 10 points behind the top four.

Even an influx of new players, including Mykhailo Mudryk, who signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in a deal worth $108 million, might not be enough to see Graham Potter’s team make up the ground.

The move for Fernandez came after the midfielder’s outstanding performances in Argentina’s World Cup triumph in Qatar and represents a significant increase in his valuation after moving from River Plate to Benfica last summer.

Just how well teams have invested will become clearer in the remaining months of the season.

Premier League leader Arsenal strengthened its title bid with Brighton forward Leandro Trossard and a surprise deadline day move for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.

Despite links with Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, Arsenal will have to wait at least until the summer to complete that deal.

While the majority of the money was paid out by English clubs, one of the most intriguing signings of the window was completed by Bayern Munich with the deadline day loan capture of Manchester City fullback Joao Cancelo.

The German league champion’s interest only emerged on Monday, with the deal including an option to buy the Portugal international for $76 million.

Bayern also secured the signing of former Manchester United and Ajax defender Daley Blind on a free transfer earlier in the month as it shrewdly worked the market.

German clubs paid around $74 million in January.

Barcelona - a traditional powerhouse of European soccer - was left to concentrate on keeping hold of one of its most exciting talents, rather than bringing in any major signings.

The Spanish league leader managed to sign Gavi up to a first team contract, which will prevent him from being able to leave for free in the summer.

Teams in Spain spent $30 million during the window, with Italian clubs paying out $30.89 million.

France's total was $128 million, which was the next highest after the Premier League.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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James Robson, The Associated Press