The January transfer window offers teams a chance to rectify summer mistakes and strengthen their squads mid-season.
However, the 2024 winter period has thus far been a pretty low-key affair. Big-money deals have been a rarity as clubs are reluctant to sell their best players in the middle of the campaign.
The Saudi Pro League, which upset the European apple cart in the summer, has refrained from spending big in January as many clubs already used up their budget allocations in the previous window and high-profile European signings would require selling players due to the league’s foreigner limit.
Al-Hilal, who were the world’s second-biggest spenders in the summer after Chelsea, are the only Saudi side to have thus far completed a major incoming transfer, signing Renan Lodi from Marseille for €23 million. This fee is enough for them to make the top ten of January’s biggest spenders, illustrating the dearth of big-money deals.
It has been a similar story in the richest league in the world, the Premier League, with none of the league’s biggest hitters completing a prominent signing. Instead, Tottenhamare the division’s biggest spenders due to their €25m move for Radu Dragusin.
The 10 biggest spenders of the January transfer window
Taking the above into account, it is unsurprising to see some rather unusual names among January’s ten biggest spenders. Ironically, the side to have by far spent the most money are Barcelona– and they blew it all on one player! The cash-strapped Catalans broke the bank to sign Brazilian wonderkid Vitor Roque for €40m.
Second in the standings are Lyon, who have brought in several reinforcements after a historically bad start to the season, which saw them rooted to the bottom of Ligue 1 for a time. The fallen French giants have spent €35.83m on Malick Fofana, Gift Orban, Adryelson and Lucas Perri.
The club with the third-biggest expenditure are Zenit. Despite being banned from the Champions League, the St. Petersburgers have bolstered their squad big-time as they find themselves in an unusual position in the Russian Premier League, sitting only in second behind Krasnodar. Brazilians Artur, Pedro and Nino as well as Russian international Ilzat Akhmetov were brought in for a combined €29.85m.
The perennial Russian champions are followed by a club hoping to become title-winners in the not-to-distant future in Tottenham. The €25m spent on Dragusin are enough for Spurs to make the top five. The arrival of Timo Werner did not cost them anything as he only arrived on loan from RB Leipzig, who are number five due to the €24m signing of Eljif Elmas.
Al-Hilal sit in sixth thanks to the signing of Lodi for €23m, while PSG (€20m on Lucas Beraldo) and Benfica (€18m on Marcos Leonardo) are the last two European teams, sitting seventh and eighth, respectively. The top ten is completed by Mexican side Cruz Azul (€15.68m) and Brazil’s Palmeiras (€14.55m).
January’s top ten spenders
|Amount spent (€)
|2. Olympique Lyon
|3. Zenit St. Petersburg
|5. RB Leipzig
|9. Cruz Azul