Donny van de Beek officially joined Manchester United on Wednesday in a €40m deal from Ajax. The Dutch midfielder has signed a five-year deal at Old Trafford and will join the club next week after the Nations League. United have confirmed that Van de Beek has chosen the No.34 to play with next season. He asked for this number as a tribute to his former Ajax teammate Abdelhak Nouri.
The former attacking midfielder collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia attack during a pre-season game in 2017. Nouri was left with serious brain and permanent brain damage, meaning he would never play football again. Van de Beek and Nouri are close friends, with the two coming up through the youth ranks at Ajax.
Nouri wore the No.34 during his 15 appearances at the club, including three games in the Europa League. Several former Ajax players have decided to use the No.34 as a tribute to Nouri after they signed for a new club. Joel Veltman (Brighton), Justin Kluivert (AS Roma) and Amin Younes (Napoli) all wear the No.34.
On the official website Van de Beek said: “This is a special thing for me because my good friend Abdelhak Nouri… maybe you know the story. He had a heart attack and he’s a good friend of mine, and I’m really close with his family and his brother is one of my best friends, and I talk a lot with them. So I decided to take his old number on my shirt. I want to get good memories with this number.”