Football: French clubs now among biggest spenders, say league officials

PARIS (AFP) - French clubs splashed out €156 million (S$237 million) in the winter transfer window, third only to the big-spending English Premier League (EPL) and Chinese Super League (CSL), French league officials said on Friday.

The high-profile arrivals of Julian Draxler to Paris Saint-Germain, Memphis Depay to Lyon and Dimitri Payet to Marseille was proof that "something is happening", Didier Quillot, executive director-general of the French Professional Football League (LFP), said.

Last winter, French sides spent a relatively measly €38 million.

EPL clubs emerged from the just-ended transfer window in the black for the first time but still shelled out more than €250 million on new players in January.

CSL clubs spent €218 million, including an Asian-record €60 million when Oscar moved from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG, according to the LFP.

PSG and Marseille were the biggest spenders in France, with the French champions forking out €40 million on German World Cup winner Draxler from Wolfsburg and €30 million for rangy Portuguese forward Goncalo Guedes from Benfica.

Marseille, freshly minted following a takeover by billionaire American Frank McCourt, stumped up €30 million to lure Payet back from West Ham. They also signed veteran Patrice Evra on a free from Juventus.

The French league trumped the German Bundesliga, whose clubs spent €97.35 million - shattering the previous record in the winter transfer window there.