Belfast Telegraph

Van Dijk deal puts 2018 well on course to break January transfer spending record

Liverpool's signing of Virgil van Dijk could kick off a record January transfer window in the Premier League.

The Holland defender will join the Reds from Southampton when the window opens on New Year's Day, with the fee understood to be £75million.

That alone is a third of the way to the league's winter record of £225m, set in 2011. The following January was quiet, with just £60m spent by the 20 clubs, but the trend has been upwards ever since and h ere, Press Association Sport looks back at the biggest-spending winter windows in the Premier League.

2011 - £225m

The key spending came late in the window when Chelsea splashed £50m on Fernando Torres and Liverpool replaced the Spaniard by signing Andy Carroll from Newcastle for £35m and Luis Suarez from Ajax for £22.8m.

The Blues also signed defender David Luiz for the first time for £26.5m, meaning they and Liverpool had combined for over £134m of the total on deadline day alone. T he window's other big-money moves took strikers Edin Dzeko and Darren Bent to Manchester City and Aston Villa respectively.

2016 - £175m

January 2012 was quiet, with just £60m spent, and following three winters in the £120m to £130m range there was a jump forward two years ago - though it would be fair to suggest the bulk of that window's biggest moves were not huge successes.

Giannelli Imbula headed the price chart at £18.2m and failed to make an impact at Stoke and Oumar Niasse has only recently and sporadically begun to justify Everton's £13.5m outlay. Newcastle spent £12m apiece on Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey while Benik Afobe and Wahbi Khazri were £9m purchases for Bournemouth and Sunderland respectively.

2017 - £215m

Spending came up only just short of the record, though the big-money sales of the likes of Oscar and Odion Ighalo to the Chinese Super League and Dmitri Payet and Memphis Depay to France meant this was the first window ever in which Premier League clubs made a net profit.

The top deals took Gabriel Jesus to Manchester City and Morgan Schneiderlin to Everton but much of the spending came from clubs in the bottom half, led by Crystal Palace laying out £26m on Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp and West Ham over £18m on Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass.

2018 - ?

The upwards trend has been mirrored in the summer windows, giving little reason to suspect spending will slow down - particularly after pro-EU campaign group Open Britain indicated that sterling's devaluation following the Brexit vote added over £100m to the league's summer bill.

The Saints have their Van Dijk windfall to spend, with their former star Theo Walcott and out-of-favour Anfield forward Daniel Sturridge reported targets in addition to the defensive replacement they will require. Clubs will take an interest in Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, both out of contract in the summer at Arsenal - who could make Paris St Germain's Julian Draxler a pre-emptive replacement - while Besiktas forward Cenk Tosun is a reported £20m-plus target for Everton and Palace.

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