English Premier League soccer clubs spent around 60 million pounds ($94.7 million) in the January transfer window, down 70 per cent on last year as new rules to curb excessive losses put a damper on the market, business firm Deloitte said on Wednesday.
The struggles of Chelsea striker Fernando Torres and Liverpool's Andy Carroll, the two biggest transfers in last year's window, are also likely to have prompted clubs to think twice before spending heavily mid-season.
"After last year's bout of big money transfers that drove the record total spend of 225 million pounds, January 2012 has seen a more sober level of spending amongst Premier League clubs," said Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.
"The 60 million spent in January 2012 is back to a similar level as the January windows in 2004 to 2007, and still ahead of the investment in players by top division clubs in other European leagues."
European soccer's governing body UEFA requires clubs to curb their losses over the next three years or risk exclusion from major European competitions
"The focus on football's future financial sustainability is more prevalent in Europe than at any time in the past 20 years and, going forward we remain keen to see that translated into a better balance between revenue and expenditure," Jones said.
Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle were the biggest English spenders in the window, making up more than half of the money spent.
Newcastle signed Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse from German club Freiburg for an estimated $15.4 million, while strugglers Queen's Park Rangers bought strikers Bobby Zamora from Fulham and Lazio for undisclosed sums.
Chelsea, who recorded a loss of 67.7 million pounds last year, bought defender Gary Cahill from Bolton but offloaded striker Nicolas Anelka to Shanghai Shenhua in China and defender Alex to Qatari-backed Paris Saint Germain.