TRANSFER spending in men’s soccer went up by 74.7% in the January window compared to last year as clubs signed more players in a sign of a recovery following two pandemic-hit years, world governing body International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) said on Tuesday.

Clubs spent $1.03 billion on players last month, just shy of the $1.16 billion recorded in January 2020.

A total of 3,791 international transfers were completed across men’s and women’s soccer — a rise of 28% compared to 2021 among male players, and a new all-time high of 42.8% increase in the women’s game.

“For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, transfer fees and the number of transfers experienced significant growth,” a study from FIFA said.

English clubs topped spending with an outlay of $349.5 million, followed by Italy with $113.6 million and Spain with $111.1 million. England was also the top gainer in terms of transfer receipts, earning $108.6 million.

Serbia striker Dusan Vlahovic’s move from Italian Serie A club Fiorentina to rival Juventus was reported to be the most expensive in the window, with the deal worth up to €80 million ($91.34 million).

Ferran Torres swapping Manchester City for Barcelona and Luis Diaz moving to Liverpool from Porto was second and third on the list, with the reported fees of €55 million ($62.79 million) and €45 million ($51.38 million), respectively. — Reuters