New Manchester United signing Donny van de Beek is set to wear the no.34 shirt in the upcoming 2020/2021 season.
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.