Odion Ighalo was hired by Manchester United on the last day transfer window. Image Credit: AP

London: Premier League clubs spent 230 million pounds ($302 million) on January transfers, the second-highest total for the mid-season window, the Sports Business Group at Deloitte said in a report.

The total gross spend for the 2019-20 season, including the close-season window, has been 1.6 billion pounds - second only to the record 1.9 billion pounds set in the 2017-18 campaign. But only 25 million of that was spent on Friday’s deadline day, as short-term loan deals dominated the headlines.

None of the top four clubs entered the market on the final day, while fifth-placed Manchester United made a surprise addition to their squad by bringing in Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

After a record January shopping spree worth 430 million pounds in 2018, clubs appear to have tweaked their mid-season recruitment strategy.

“Clubs are focused on long-term financial stability and are therefore less willing to spend in excess of pre-defined transfer budgets in pursuit of short term success,” said Tim Bridge, director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“This is further evidenced by the prominence of more agile transfer strategies, such as utilising loan transfers often with an option to buy, as well as focusing attention towards the promotion of young talent from club academies in recent years.”

The January window saw the total expenditure by the big six clubs - Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea - account for 52% of the league’s total spending in the month.

All of Europe’s top five leagues spent more this January than last year. Italian Serie A clubs spent 180 million pounds, German Bundesliga clubs paid out 165 million pounds, Spain’s La Liga made transfer deals worth 110 million and the French Ligue 1 spent 100 million pounds, Deloitte said.