SAINTS and their Premier League rivals once again dominated the international transfer market in 2013 - topping the 1billion US dollar-mark for the first time.
The English clubs, plus Swansea and Cardiff from Wales, spent 1.1billion dollars (£660million) on overseas transfers last year, and of that more than £50million went straight into the pockets of agents.
Saints spent over £35m in 2013 on signing four players from overseas clubs - Vegard Forren, Dejan Lovren, Victor Wanyama and Dani Osvaldo.
The figures - revealed in the Global Transfer Market 2014 report, published by FIFA - only include international transfers between different countries.
Premier League figures released in November disclosed a total of £100million was paid to agents, including for domestic transfers.
After the Premier League, Italian clubs were the next biggest spenders on overseas transfers (£286million), followed by France (£253million), Spain (£192million) and then Germany (£144million).
Spanish clubs, however, were the biggest net earners for transfers, with net income of £150million.
The report also highlighted the growing influence of 'super clubs' such as Manchester City, Paris St Germain and Monaco, where wealthy owners provide huge sums for fast-track team strengthening.
The report states that across the world there were a total of 12,309 international transfers in 2013, 4% more than in 2012, and 90 per cent of these were free transfers with no fee paid.
“Players with Brazilian nationality were also represented most in the international transfer market with 1,558 transfers (13% of total transfers),” says the report, with 236 players moving to and from Brazil and Portugal.
FIFA's transfers matching system aims to provide a clearing house for all international transfers, with clubs having to register agents involved plus any fees and add-ons.
The system should be able to shed some light on the complicated deal that took Neymar from Santos to Barcelona, with much of the fee going to a company headed by the player's father.
Spanish prosecutors are investigating the deal after it emerged that Barcelona's original announcement that Neymar cost £48million did not include a further £25million in other fees.
Mark Goddard, general manager of the FIFA Transfer Matching System, would not be drawn on the case however.
He said: “Obviously the Neymar transfer was in the system and that has generated some recent interest - and we are now going to do everything we are required to do to make sure our obligations are met.”
The row over the fee led to a change of president at Barcelona with Sandro Rosell quitting the post.