Evergrande top spender in winter transfer window

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Zheng Zhi (1st, R) of Guangzhou Evergrande competes during the 2nd round of the AFC Champions League final match between Guangzhou Evergrande and Al Ahli of United Arab Emirates in Guangzhou, China, Nov. 21, 2015. (Xinhua/Guo Yong)

Seven-time Chinese Super League (CSL) champions Guangzhou Evergrande spent the most money in the winter transfer window with 93 million U.S. dollars, followed by English Premier League side Chelsea and Italian Serie A club AC Milan as the window closed on Thursday.

Evergrande, runners-up in the 2018 CSL, made Brazilian midfielder Paulinho's loan stay permanent by paying 48 million dollars to Spanish giants Barcelona. The Chinese side also paid 22 million dollars to Benfica to sign their attacking midfielder Anderson Talisca permanently, after a successful loan spell at the CSL outfit.

Another January recruit for the Guangzhou side was English defender Tyias Browning, who joined from Premier League side Everton for five million dollars.

Chelsea ranked second in winter spending, splashing 83 million dollars. The Blues' acquisition of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund for 73 million dollars was the second costliest deal in January.

Chelsea also paid 10 million dollars to loan Gonzalo Higuain from AC Milan, who in turn replaced the Argentinian striker by spending 40 million dollars each on forward Krzysztof Piatek and attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta, bring their total January outlay to 80 million dollars.

Also in the top ten for winter spending was Chinese club Dalian Yifang, who shelled out 35 million dollars, 22 million of which went on Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik. The Slovakian international is Napoli's record goalscorer and appearance holder, banging in 121 goals from 520 appearances to overhaul the tally plundered by the legendary Diego Maradona. 

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