Unlike many other January transfer windows, the 2018 one was abuzz with some high-profile transfers and multi-million dollar deals. Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang et al were just some of the names that made the headlines throughout the month, as transfers materialised thick and fast.
But amid all the hustle and bustle, there were a few players who didn't just make a switch but in fact, switched to a side that's non-European. These are the players who coasted off to great lengths in order to ply their trade elsewhere, as the likes of China, Qatar, and Brazil too had their say in the January transfer window.
Here are the top five players who left Europe for newer pastures.
Note: All transfer values mentioned have been obtained from Transfermarkt
#5 Carlos Vela - Los Angeles FC (USA)
In a very bizarre turn of events, Carlos Vela opted to give up the ostentatious league of Spain in favour of the unassuming MLS where he would now play in the colours of Los Angeles.
The Mexican international was a proven quantity with Real Sociedad, where he enjoyed five and a half fruitful years and scored 73 times in 248 appearances. The 28-year old is still in his prime and could have done much worse than join the mid-table sides of the Premier League where a few possible suitors laid. However, Vela seemed to have other ideas.
The former Arsenal man sealed a €5 million move to the United States in December and joined the LA outfit at the turn of the year.
One of the greatest ever Mexican internationals to play in Europe, Vela ensured his time in the Basque Country came to a fitting end when he struck a last-minute goal in the 3-1 win over Sevilla in December.