Premier League January spending trumped by Chinese Super League
Chinese clubs outspent their Premier League rivals by more than US$100 million on international transfers in their most recent transfer windows.
Teams in the Chinese Super League splashed some serious cash on overseas imports during the close season, with the signing of Liverpool target Alex Teixeira by Jiangsu Suning for almost £39 million the biggest individual deal.
Jiangsu also signed Brazil midfielder Ramires from Chelsea, and overall Chinese clubs spent $296m (£208m) on international transfers between Jan. 1 and Feb. 26, according to data released on Tuesday by FIFA's transfer matching system (TMS).
English top-flight sides spent $181m between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 -- equating to £127m -- according to TMS.
Remarkably, the Chinese total was also only $58m (£41m) lower than the overall amount spent during the winter window by all of the 'big five' European leagues -- England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain -- combined.
However, Chinese spending is still dwarfed when a like-for-like comparison is made between England and China's close season windows.
TMS data showed Premier League clubs spent almost one billion dollars (around £650m) during the summer 2015 window, more than three times the amount spent by Chinese clubs during their close season.
But the Chinese spending is still significant, and has more than trebled from the previous close season total of $86m, even though only 22 more overseas incoming deals were recorded by TMS in 2016 compared to 2015.
Chinese president Xi Jinping is a big football fan and has tried to encourage the wealthy owners of the clubs to spend big in a bid to raise the Super League's global profile.
Jiangsu are owned by the Suning retail group, while Asian Champions League holders Guangzhou are owned by the Evergrande real estate company.
Jiangsu were also reported to have failed with a £75m bid for Ramires' compatriot and former Chelsea teammate Oscar.