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Coutinho, Van Dijk transfers push January window to record

Philippe Coutinho cost Barcelona 160 million euros ($192 million), the biggest fee of the January transfer window © AFP / JOSE JORDAN

PARIS, France, Feb 16Liverpool’s record sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona and acquisition of Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton pushed January transfer window spending to new heights, a FIFA report published on Friday revealed.

La Liga giants Barca led the way with the 160 million euros ($192 million) signature of Brazilian attacking midfielder Coutinho as Spanish clubs spent more money than in the previous seven January windows put together — their $361.3 million represented a massive 560.4 percent increase on 2017.

English clubs still outstripped the Spanish, though, as Liverpool paid £75 million for central defender Van Dijk.

Manchester City also forked out for a defender with Aymeric Laporte costing £57 million from Athletic Bilbao while Arsenal splashed £56 million on Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund.

English clubs spent $482.8 million, a 181 percent increase on last year.

The FIFA TMS platform that tracks international transfers said a total of $1.28 billion was spent despite only 15 percent of the 3,317 transfers around the world commanding a fee.

Teams from the ‘big five’ leagues of England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France spent 784 million euros ($979m) in January, up 70.5 percent on the equivalent period in 2017, although outlay in the latter three actually went down.