Manchester United confirmed on Wednesday that new signing Donny van de Beek will wear the no.34 shirt.
Van de Beek asked Man United for the no.34 jersey 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, 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.
Man United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who last week signed a new long-term contract at Old Trafford, was the holder of the shirt but allowed Van de Beek to take it.
“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.
- READ MORE
- Man United end City's winning streak with derby victory
- Man Utd's Fernandes brushes off criticism of big-game record
- Man City vs Man United team news, predicted line-ups
- Man United star Fernandes fires back at critics over 'big six' record
- Man United in dark over Paul Pogba future
- Solskjaer claims Guardiola's methods would not work at Man United
“So I decided to take his old number on my shirt. I want to get good memories with this number,” Van de Beek told United website.
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.
United completed the signing of the midfielder from Ajax for a fee that could rise to Sh6 billion (£39.1million).
United will pay an initial £34.7m for the 23-year-old, who has penned a five-year contract with the option of a further 12 months to become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first recruit ahead of the 2020-21 season.
The Netherlands midfielder was one of the star performers for Ajax as they embarked upon a memorable run to the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League, having thrashed Spanish giants Real Madrid in the round of 16.
Van de Beek came through the ranks of the Ajax youth system, making his senior debut in 2015.
Experienced in European competitions, he also featured in the 2017 Europa League final against Man United.
The Netherlands international contributed 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 games last season before the Eredivisie league was curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic.