Father Nouri: ‘Van de Beek called to ask if he can play with 34’

It’d been on the air for days, but Wednesday was finally here. Ajax and Manchester United reached an agreement on the transfer of Donny van de Beek. The 23-year-old midfielder signed a contract for five seasons. Not only for Van de Beek, this transfer is very special. Also for bosom friend Abdelhak Nouri.

“Abdelhak reacted happily. When he hears Donny’s name or voice, his eyes grow big and he immediately looks up”, father Mohammed told, while sitting next to Abdelhak. “He hears everything. You stand on the loudspeaker. He knows exactly what you are saying and what it is all about. We don’t have to tell him that,” he adds.

Van de Beek was one of the first to let the Nouri family know that the transfer had been completed. “He was also emotional, you could see that right away. You can see it in his facial expression. But so do we. We’re happy and emotional at the same time. Everything comes up. Donny and Abdelhak are bosom friends. Real friendship it is,” says Mohammed.

From childhood

Abdelhak Nouri and Donny van de Beek have been big buddies since childhood. They went through the youth teams of Ajax together and had great successes. But it wasn’t just that good click on the field. Also outside the field the two of them had a good time. Donny was a child at home with the Nouri family. And still is. Donny often visits Abdelhak and has daily contact with brother Mo.

The fact that Van de Beek will play in Manchester with 34 on his back, the back number with which Nouri made his debut with Ajax, is not very surprising. Yet that wasn’t self-evident for the brand new purchase of United.

“Donny called me.” “He asked if I thought it was okay for him to play with number 34. And I said he should. I can only be proud of that. It’s a nice gesture, super special for us.”

Extra charge

Brother Mo complements his father. “I didn’t have words for it at first. And now I am grateful. And very proud,” he says. Abderrahim, the eldest brother, explains that sensitivity. “Of course a lot of players have chosen to play with number 34, but with Donny that brings an extra charge. There’s more to it than that. They have a special bond.”

Earlier this year the transition to Real Madrid kicked off. According to Mo there was no disappointment at the time at Van de Beek. “He stayed focused. He continued. And continued to play well. And now this. When I heard from Donny that Manchester United was interested, I told him right away. I’d known for a while.”

He then goes a little deeper into the friendship between his brother and Van de Beek. “Donny is here often. And when I’m at Facetimen with Donny, he’s always in touch with Abdelhak. He still finds it very difficult. Logical too. It’s also very sensitive. Still.”

“And my bond with Donny is stronger now, too. We’ve been talking all day. And I play soccer at Veensche Boys in Nijkerkerveen, where Donny comes from. So I also join the Van de Beek family”, says Mo.

In the presence of ‘Appie’ Nouri’s parents also let go of something about that special bond. “He feels like a son. And Donny is not only Abdelhak’s best friend, we also have a good relationship with his parents. We saw each other often. We mostly talk on the phone now, because we are careful with visitors. By corona, of course. The fewer visitors, the better. But Abdelhak is doing well now. He is stable, shows emotions. And we’re still with him.”

In a short time Justin Kluivert (AS Roma), Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham Hotspur), Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) and thus Van de Beek have made a transfer to a top competition. All of them boys with whom Nouri has played. “That’s special. I follow them all”, emphasizes brother Mo. “It’s wonderful, but the most important thing is that everyone stays healthy.”