Confirmed: Donny van de Beek's squad number
Manchester United can officially announce that our new signing Donny van de Beek will wear the no.34 shirt.
The 23-year-old was unveiled as a Red earlier on Wednesday after completing his transfer from Ajax, where he had sported the no.6 shirt since 2017.
Donny previously wore no.30 for the Amsterdam club, as well as donning various shirt numbers during his 10 international appearances with the Netherlands.
The midfielder has asked for the no.34 jersey ahead of the 2020/21 campaign though, as a tribute to former Ajax team-mate Abdelhak Nouri, who collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia attack during a pre-season game in 2017.
Nouri, who is a close friend of van de Beek’s, with the pair having come up through the youth ranks together at the Amsterdam club, was left with serious and permanent brain damage after the incident against Werder Bremen, meaning his career had to be cut tragically short.
The former midfielder, known as ‘Appie’ at Ajax, wore 34 during his 15 appearances for the club, which included three games in the 2016/17 Europa League, where the Eredivisie side made it the final, only to be beaten 2-0 by United in Stockholm.
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.”
Several other former Ajax players have also asked for Nouri’s shirt number after moving clubs, including Justin Kluivert at Roma, Joel Veltman at Brighton and Amin Younes, now of Napoli.
Dean Henderson, who last week signed a new long-term contract at Old Trafford, was the holder of the shirt, but the goalkeeper has kindly allowed van de Beek to take it.
Other previous wearers of the no.34 at United since squad numbers were introduced in 1993/94 include Jonathan Greening, Phil Bardsley and goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.