Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham's £114 million move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid was the most expensive international transfer of last year. Isabel Infantes/Reuters

The newly released Global Transfer Report from football's leading governing body, FIFA, has revealed that football clubs around the world spent a record-breaking £7.6 billion on international transfer fees in the past 12 months.

The report takes into account transfers involving two teams from different nations and not domestic deals. There was a record number of international transfers in 2023 as 74,836 deals were made, with 31.7 per cent involving professional men's and women's players and the rest made up of transfers involving amateur players.

The £7.6 billion spending figure is a massive 48.1 per cent increase from the amount in 2022 and overtakes the previous record spending amount of £6 billion from 2019.

With a hefty spend of £2.3 billion last year, English clubs had the biggest expenditure. Six of the 10 biggest international transfers of 2023 came from Premier League sides, with Chelsea accounting for two of the top five spots due to their acquisitions of Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk last January.

Fernandez joined for a fee of £108.6 million from Benfica and Mudryk was sold by Shakhtar Donetsk for £89 million. Also, making the top 10 list was Josko Gvardiol's £77.6 million move to Manchester City from RB Leipzig and Manchester United's £72 million deal to sign Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta.

Dominik Szoboszlai's £60 million move from RB Leipzig to Liverpool and Sandro Tonali's switch from AC Milan to Newcastle United for £55 million are also included in 2023's 10 biggest global deals.

It remains likely that English clubs will not surpass last year's spending figure for international purchases as the spending in this January transfer window has been well below the figures of January 2023.

Chelsea alone spent around £300 million on international transfers in January of last year, which was more than the expenditure of all clubs in the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and La Liga combined. Also, Liverpool spent £37 million to sign Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven that month after he impressed for the Netherlands at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Whereas this January window, Premier League clubs have not been spending anywhere near as much, with Tottenham Hotspur's purchase of Radu Dragusin from Genoa for £26.7 million set to be the biggest move by an English club.

The biggest international deal of last year was Jude Bellingham's move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid for a total fee of £114 million.

The top 10 transfers were responsible for over 10 per cent of the entire spending amount of all cross-border transfers in 2023.

The Saudi Pro League was the second highest-spending league for global transfers last year as £765 million was spent by its clubs.

The deals included Neymar's £86.3 million move from Paris Saint Germain to Al-Hilal, whilst the Saudi Pro League club also purchased Malcolm from Zenit Saint Petersburg for £52 million and Ruben Neves from Wolverhampton Wanderers for £47 million.

Also, contributing to the expenditure was Al-Nassr's £51 million purchase of Otavio from FC Porto and Al-Ittihad's £40 million capture of Fabinho from Liverpool.

German clubs received the highest figure from transfer fees from sales last year at £950 million, with the departures of Bellingham, Gvardiol and Szoboszlai from the Bundesliga contributing largely to that amount. Randal Kolo Muani's £76.4 million move to Paris Saint Germain from Eintracht Frankfurt was another big sale from a German club.

French clubs were marginally behind as they received £940 million in fees whilst English and Italian clubs received £820 million and £810 million, respectively.

Transfers became more prominent in the women's game as there were 1888 cross-border deals made in the previous 12 months, marking an increase of over 20 per cent from the year prior.

A record £4.8 million was spent altogether by clubs, marking an increase of 84.2 per cent from 2022. The number of clubs involved in international transfers also increased, rising from 507 in 2022 to 623 last year.

The biggest transfers in the women's game last year included Jill Roord's move from VfL Wolfsburg to Manchester City and Arsenal's purchase of Kyra Cooney-Cross from Hammarby, with both deals in excess of £300,000.

There was a large number of transfers involving amateur footballers in 2023 as over 50,000 global transfers were made, with 91.7 per cent of these including male players. German clubs made the most purchases for amateur players in 2023 with 7825 deals being carried out.