By MATT STYPULKOSKI
Though the number of international transfers among the world’s top leagues was down this January, spending reached an all-time high.
The “Big 5” countries – England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – spent $466 million during last month’s transfer window, a 36 percent increase over 2014. The actual number of transfers, however, fell about two percent, with 452 players changing teams.
England, as usual, was the top spender ($173 million). But Germany ($116 million) took the second spot for the first time in the last five January windows.
The record totals came despite the fact that French clubs actually decreased their spending by more than 50 percent from last year.
Here are some more of Wednesday afternoon’s news and notes:
ARSENAL’S RAMSEY OUT UNTIL MARCH, SANCHEZ INJURY MINOR
Another hamstring injury will sideline Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, this time for about four weeks.
Ramsey played just nine minutes as a substitute against Leicester City on Tuesday before his third hamstring injury of the season forced him off. As a result, the midfielder will miss at least the next three games, including the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 matchup with Monaco.
The good news for Arsenal is that Alexis Sanchez, who had just returned from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss two matches. The Chilean came off after 68 minutes after a hard tackle from Matthew Upson, but was not seriously injured.
REAL MADRID MAY BUY BACK MORATA
Alvaro Morata left Real Madrid for Juventus last summer, but he could potentially return to Spain.
The Spanish club sold the striker for €22 million ($24.8 million), but included a buyback clause. Real Madrid can return him for €30 million ($33.9 million) this summer or €35 million ($39.5 million) at the end of next season. They also have the right of first refusal for Morata’s first two years with Juventus, should another club offer to purchase him.
Real Madrid have reportedly reached out to Morata to congratulate him on his recent success in Turin and are keeping an eye on his performance. The 22-year-old has scored seven goals in just over 1,000 minutes played for the Italian club.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN’S KRUSE NEEDS SURGERY
Australian forward Robbie Kruse will need surgery to repair an ankle injury suffered in the Asian Cup Final in January.
Though Bayer Leverkusen initially hoped the Kruse may be able to return near the end of the season, the injury – a bone splinter in his left ankle – will ultimately require surgery that will likely rule him out for the remainder.
Kruse had appeared in seven games for Bayer Leverkusen this season. He is set to have the surgery on Thursday.
What do you think of the record-breaking transfer window? How will Arsenal fare without Ramsey? Do you think Real Madrid should buy back Morata?
Share your thoughts below.