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English trio bank on investments

England's three UEFA Champions League's contenders were the biggest spenders in January.

Club record
Between them Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC have spent just under €55m on three players. Arsenal, quiet in the transfer market last summer, bought the 20-year-old Spanish international José Antonio Reyes from Sevilla FC for a club-record €25.6m.

Chelsea add Parker
Chelsea responded to news of Juan Sebastián Verón's prolonged absence by adding Charlton Athletic FC midfield player Scott Parker to their growing collection of English internationals, paying €14.6m for the 23-year-old. And United - who also secured the signature of Celtic FC's exciting Irishman Liam Miller for next season - spent €14.6m on Fulham FC's French forward Louis Saha, to provide striking support for Ruud van Nistelrooij.

League apart
This trio, a league apart in both points and buying power from their fellow clubs in the English Premiership, also stand apart from their Champions League rivals when it comes to money spent during the January transfer window.

Pozzi potential
Italy's two remaining participants, holders AC Milan and Juventus FC, mustered one signing between them, the Rossoneri recruiting the 17-year-old striker Nicola Pozzi from Serie C side AC Cesena for around €2m. Pozzi has taken Rivaldo's place in Milan's Champions League squad. Juventus lost Edgar Davids on loan to FC Barcelona as one of four departures from the Delle Alpi but did not see fit to find a replacement.

No new faces
In Spain there were no new faces at Real Madrid CF, RC Deportivo La Coruña or Real Sociedad de Fútbol. Madrid prefer to do their spending in the summer but in RC Celta de Vigo's case needs must and their relegation worries prompted moves for young Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla and FK Partizan's Saša Ilic, although the latter is ineligible for Europe.

Stuttgart strengthen
While FC Bayern München's business was confined to extending the contracts of Mehmet Scholl and Thomas Linke, VfB Stuttgart coach Felix Magath strengthened his squad with three new faces. Neither of his two new Swiss internationals, Marco Streller and Hakan Yakin, can play in the Champions League, but the Croatian defender Boris Zivkovic is eligible.

Quiet in France
In France, the transfer window's principal purpose seemed to be to cut costs by reducing squad numbers and AS Monaco FC followed the trend by loaning out Souleymane Camara and promising midfield player Sébastien Carole. Olympique Lyonnais were one of three Ligue 1 clubs who let the month pass without any activity at all.

Lokomotiv lose Ignashevitch
Elsewhere, neither of FC Porto's two main winter signings, Sérgio Conceição and Maciel, is eligible for Europe. Likewise Dmitri Sytchev at FC Lokomotiv Moskva, although the return to the club of Nigerian striker James Obiorah will provide another option in attack. More telling, however, could be the absence of key defender Sergei Ignashevitch, who joined PFC CSKA Moskva.

Experience of Stajner
Of the eight departures from AC Sparta Praha, none were indispensable and instead coach Jirí Kotrba has added the experience of Czech Republic striker Jirí Stajner, who joined on loan from Hannover 96. Just a pity his two other acquisitions, striker Jan Rezek and midfield player Petr Vorísek, are both ineligible.

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