LONDON, England (CNN) -- The January transfer window is the mid-season bazaar that provides Europe's football teams a chance to boost their squad for the second half of the season.
Liverpool striker Robbie Keane returns to London's Tottenham Hotspur.
Late deals, unexpected switches, moves falling through at the last minute --the final 24 hours in the transfer window are certainly the most nail-biting for football fans.
From record-breaking transfer deals to deadline extensions brought about by the bad weather that crippled much of England Monday, there was plenty of action this year.
By the time the ink dried on various multimillion pound contracts, experts calculated that English Premier League clubs had splashed out a record breaking £177 million ($252 million) -- £26 million ($38 million) more than during last year's transfer window.
The figure was more than that spent by the Spanish, Italian and German leagues combined, according to business advisory organization Deloitte.
According to an early study by Deloitte, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were the two biggest spenders, splashing out an estimated £50 million ($71 million) and £45 million ($65 million), respectively.
When the January transfer window was first introduced in 2003, clubs spent just £35 million ($50 million) on buying players.
With the global economy in meltdown, the transfer market is clearly a recession-proof business.
Below CNN's Football Fanzone presents an overview of some of the eye-catching deals in the continent's biggest leagues.
Oil-rich Manchester City were expected to splash the cash and they did, albeit not as much as they would have liked.
In came striker Craig Bellamy from West Ham, defender Wayne Bridge from Chelsea, goalie Shay Given from Newcastle and Nigel de Jong from Hamburg.
But Mark Hughes missed out on his top targets of Milan forward Kaka and Blackburn frontman Roque Santa Cruz.
Chelsea were not expected to sign anyone but recruited winger Ricardo Quaresma on loan from Internazionale.
Tottenham's policy of buying back their former players continued with the return of striker Robbie Keane from Liverpool, joining striker Jermain Defoe (from Portsmouth) and defender Pascal Chimbonda (Sunderland) back at White Hart Lane.
Robbie Keane(Liverpool to Tottenham)
Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth to Tottenham)
Wilson Palacios (Wigan to Tottenham)
Craig Bellamy (West Ham to Manchester City)
Wayne Bridge (Chelsea to Manchester City)
Nigel de Jong (Hamburg to Manchester City)
Shay Given (Newcastle to Manchester City)
Emile Heskey (Wigan to Aston Villa)
Ricardo Quaresma (Internazionale to Chelsea)
Real Madrid's need to shore up their midfield and attack was addressed with the signings of Lassana Diarra and Klass-Jan Huntelaar. While Diarra has settled well, Huntelaar has not proved himself to be the new Ruud van Nistelrooy.
In an odd move, the unimpressive midfielder Julien Faubert swapped West Ham for the Bernabeu until the end of the season. Only two other deals of note were completed: forward Jose Antonio Reyes left Atletico Madrid for Benfica, while striker Ricardo Oliveira swapped Reals -- Zaragoza for Betis.
The opening of the transfer window on January 1 signaled the arrival in Serie A of one of the game's true superstars.
Midfielder David Beckham used the MLS off-season to get in some much-needed match-time with AC Milan in a short-term loan deal that may yet become permanent. And while one aging great arrived at the San Siro, another departed in the shape of Ronaldo, the injury-hit striker leaving for Corinthians.
Milan also snapped up defender Thiago Da Silva from Fluminense as the Rossoneri did a little mid-season revamping of their playing staff.
Sampdoria signed forward Giampaolo Pazzini from Fiorentina, who also moved marksman Pablo Osvaldo on to Bologna. Internazionale loaned Chelsea winger Ricardo Quaresma.