Global spending on players during the summer transfer window hit a record $5.44bn (4.16bn), according to Fifa.

Some 182 of the 211 Fifa member associations had their registration period open during June to September.

Clubs from the Big Five European Leagues accounted for 77.5% of global spending, having a combined total spend of $4.21bn.

Once again, English clubs were the world's biggest spenders during the period, splashing out $1.44bn in total.

"This marks the fifth summer in a row where their spending was above $1bn, something that until now had not occurred in any other association," said Fifa.

Since October 2010, all transfers of professional players between clubs of different football associations must be processed via Fifa's International Transfer Matching System (ITMS).

Its latest data does not feature domestic transfer spending.

Saudi spending splash
Compared with last summer, spending by the Big Five leagues increased by 6.6%, driven by teams from Italy, up by 74.7%, and Spain, up by 42.2%.

"The Big Five play an increasingly dominant role in the international transfer market when it comes to spending," said Fifa.

The figures from Fifa show that 8,401 international transfers were completed around the world during the summer window.

Of this total, 59.1% were transfers of players out of contract, 15.7% were permanent transfers, 13.8% were loans, and 11.4% were transfers of players returning from a loan.

Only 18.2% of the transfers involved the payment of a fee.

The total transfer fees for 2018 so far amount to $7.11bn - already 11.5% more than the transfer fees for the entire year in 2017.

The biggest national spender behind the Big Five European leagues is Saudi Arabia.

Saudi clubs have spent a total of $152.1m on transfer fees this summer, a startling 485% increase on 2017.

Meanwhile, clubs in China have also increased spending on players in 2018, up by 105% on the previous year.