Increased transfer activity from football clubs around the globe led to a year of record spend on acquiring new players, a report from governing body Fifa has revealed.

The Global Transfer Market Report says that transfer spending in 2014 was up by 2.1% on the previous year to reach a record breaking $4.1bn (£2.7bn).

English teams were by far the biggest spenders, making up more than a quarter of the total spend at $1.2bn after bringing in big name players to the Premier League in the form of Diego Costa (£32m from Atletico Madrid to Chelsea), Alexis Sanchez (£35m from Barcelona to Arsenal) and Angel di Maria, whose £59.7m move from Real Madrid to Manchester United was a record transfer fee for an English team.

Teams in Spain were the second biggest spenders, accumulating fees of $700m. Overall, European clubs' activity accounted for 87% of the total transfer spend over the course of the year.

In total, some 13,090 international transfers were completed in 2014, with Brazil being the most active after its clubs bought and sold some 1,335 players.

Off the pitch, player agents were the biggest beneficiaries of the increased spending as payments made to them was up to $236m – an average yearly increase of 27% since 2011.