With central defense being one of Napoli's clearest needs coming in to the transfer window, the club winding up with one is hardly surprising. Enter Henrique Buss, purchased from Palmeiras in Brazil on a four-and-a-half year deal for a reported €4 million. He has a healthy bit of European experience, playing on loan with Bayer Leverkusen and Racing Santander after being originally brought from Brazil by Barcelona in 2008.
Age: 27 (12/20/1991)
Height: 6'0" (1.85 meters)
Last Season: 32 Appearances, 1 G, 1 A
Strengths: Henrique is very, very strong attacking the ball in the air. He positions himself well before his leap, and uses his frame to box out his challenger well. This especially makes him a valuable player on set pieces at both ends of the pitch. He's also a very energetic player, running around with a high motor and rarely needing a sub. Henrique has generally been quite healthy throughout his career as well.
Weaknesses: Henrique's motor sometimes gets the better of him, as he finds himself out of useful positions too often. Sometimes that works out OK for midfielders, but for a central defender that can be a death knell for his side. He also fouls far too much and too recklessly, giving away free kicks and piling up yellow cards. Henrique isn't exactly known for his speed or passing ability either, despite his willingness to step up off the back line.
Summation: I'll just come right out and say it: I'm not a huge fan of this signing. For €4 million, you can't exactly expect to get much, but Henrique just isn't very good. Originally loaned to Leverkusen to get playing time away from Barca's squad, he did just OK while playing in the Bundesliga. The next season, staying in La Liga with Racing Santander, he was simply terrible. Barca then sent him back to Brazil on loan with Palmeiras, where he was better, but his club was relegated after shipping 54 goals in 38 matches. After that, Barca just let the Brazilian side have him for free.
Yes, Napoli needs depth in defense, but they also needed quality. Ideally, they would have found someone better than Federico Fernandez to be the starter alongside Raul Albiol. Instead, they found someone who's not an upgrade on Miguel Britos. Henrique isn't even a remarkable improvement on Bruno Uvini, and Uvini couldn't get a game for Napoli.
Want an idea of how utterly unremarkable this signing is for Napoli? We live in the age of every player having a YouTube highlight video, and the closest thing there is of one for Henrique is a still picture slideshow someone made in 2009. Sorry to be pessimistic, but this is just not an encouraging signing.