(CNN) -- January can be a grueling month. Christmas is but a distant memory, with the only reminder of the festive period the credit card bills which keep tumbling through the letter box.
It is often a time for cutting ones cloth as once profligate football clubs are finding out, though the likes of English Premier League club Queen Park Rangers have gone on a spending spree in a desperate bid to avoid relegation.
English Premier League clubs splashed out a combined £120 million ($190 million) on new players during the January transfer window -- double the £60m spent during the same period in 2012 -- but those figures can be deceptive, with QPR, Liverpool and Newcastle United accounting for over half of the money spent in England's top flight.
But, in truth, the increase in spending contradicts the mood of austerity which is blowing like tumbleweed through European soccer.
"There were relatively few active spenders in the winter window, with over half of this January's total transfer spending coming from three clubs," said Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, as he analyzed spending trends in the English Premier League.
"Winter window activity tends to be driven by the on-pitch competition at the upper and lower ends of the Premier League table."
The elephant in every club boardroom is the need to factor in European governing body UEFA's new financial rules that are designed to prevent big spending clubs spending beyond their means and posting unsustainable yearly losses.
"Clubs are now in a reporting period that will count towards the first assessment of UEFA's financial fair play break-even requirement for international competition and Premier League clubs are also considering the implementation of additional cost control regulation at a domestic level," added Jones.