Picture: 23-year-old all-smiles after agreeing deal with Arsenal

Arsenal goalkeeper, Deyan Iliev has signed a contract extension with the club.

As announced by the club’s official website, the 23-year-old has extended his contract with Unai Emery’s men and will now be looking to make the step up to the senior team.

The stopper featured eight times for the Under-23s last term as a backup and was also named in the squad for last October’s 2-1 Carabao Cup victory over Norwich City.

The Macedonian, who was named in his country’s last match-day squad in March but is yet to feature in a senior international game, joined Arsenal in the summer of 2012 from FK Belasica, where he was very highly-rated.

Since then, he has been part of our academy setup and then played for our reserve sides.

The player was visibly excited at the prospect of continuing his development in North London as he beamed for the cameras when signing the dotted lines. The picture below shows he is delighted with his new deal.

Deyan Iliev

6ft 5in, he is still recovering from the nasty knee injury he suffered in 2015 that saw him out of action for two years.

Despite that, Arsenal showed faith in his abilities by sticking with him and he was slowly eased into football last term; while his reflexes can still be worked on, he remains an agile, athletic shot-stopper who is comfortable coming for crosses.

Can he become the world-class goalkeeper capable of inspiring us to win major trophies? There are certainly question marks there, given the impact his lay-off had, including a lack of exposure to first team football. The signing of an excellent goalkeeper Bernd Leno means, hopefully, we will not have to rely on Iliev at any point in the next two seasons.

However, with major doubts about the long-term futures of wantaway David Ospina and veteran Petr Cech – and Matt Macey unlikely to be anything more than third-choice – there is potential for Iliev to challenge for the role of Leno’s understudy.

Big things are still expected of Iliev at Arsenal and will he still has work ahead, this new contract is further proof that the club still believe in him.

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