The transfer window closed on Tuesday as Premier League clubs rolled the dice for the last time to try and improve their squads, but are the bigger clubs now more than ever reluctant to spend in January?
Premier League clubs spent a six-year high of £215m on players in the January transfer window, but sales to overseas clubs and the Football League exceeded that by £40m
The activity or lack of it among the top clubs was more noticeable than ever and on deadline day itself 11 Premier League clubs did not sign a single player.
Premier League clubs sold more than they bought in January, making a net profit for the first time in the history of the transfer window with most of that coming from the cash-rich clubs of China as Oscar and Odion Ighalo swapped the Premier League for the Far East for a combined fee of £80million.
The winter transfer window was filled with deals predominantly done by clubs ranging from the middle to the bottom end of the Premier League in order to strengthen their squads for the long months ahead of battling for survival
The bottom six clubs accounted for half of the entire league’s spending during the window, while the total deadline day spend for all clubs was £60m.
Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace splashed the most cash in January spending just shy of £40million on three new signings, while also bringing in Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho on loan and it will be money well spent if it helps keep the Eagles flying in the Premier League next season.
Hull City were the busiest top-flight club in January, signing seven players including three on deadline day, while also selling five players including two of their star men in the shape Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore.
The departure of top goalscorer Snodgrass is a major risk taken by Hull, but the early signs are promising under newly-appointed manager Marco Silva that he could actually guide them to survival.
While Palace and Hull both decided to spend heavily in a bid for survival Sunderland were forced to shop in the bargain basement as they brought in Joleon Lescott on a free transfer and Everton duo Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo for small fees from Everton.
The top sides never usually buy in January because they know the best signings and best value for money is only normally available in the summer.
On the other hand the teams struggling at the wrong end of the table have no choice but to splash the cash as they try to buy their way out of trouble because they are desperate to stay in the Premier League.
The top six have not really changed their squads too much with Gabriel Jesus arriving at Manchester City in a deal which was sealed last summer.
Chelsea and Manchester United were arguably the biggest winners of the transfer window as they recouped the biggest funds from departures, raising £62m and £46.2m, respectively.
League leaders Chelsea also managed to keep hold of top scorer Diego Costa despite talk of him becoming the latest big name to be swayed by the riches on offer from China and Chelsea can be happy with their business despite not bringing any new faces in.
The biggest relief of the transfer window was that Saido Berahino finally left West Bromwich Albion for Stoke after three windows of flirting and frustration.
The transfer window may have lacked the glamour of big-name signings, but one thing for sure is that it will be a different story this summer as the Premier League big boys will again flex their muscles in the market in a bid to stay ahead of their rivals and spending records will again no doubt be broken in that search for success.