Friday, March 24, 2023

Iliev improving on loan but what does the future hold?

Prior to this season, despite being 24 years old, Deyan Iliev didn’t possess any experience of first-team football.

The goalkeeper had been named on the bench for the Arsenal first-team on a couple of occasions, including for the Europa League final defeat to Chelsea, but had been restricted to youth football in terms of playing action, with an injury that kept him out for around two years having hampered his progress.

This season Iliev was sent out on loan to Sered of the Slovakian first division, where he has been the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper.

There were some initial teething problems for Iliev as he conceded many goals in his opening appearances and struggled to keep a clean sheet. However, of late there have been some significant signs of improvement, with Iliev making some impressive saves and registering several shutouts.

Iliev is frequently called up by Macedonia at senior level, but he has yet to be capped.

It is at club level where the uncertainty over his future remains, however, as by the time he returns to Arsenal next year Iliev will be 25, meaning he surely won’t go back to playing for the Gunners at U23 level.

Matt Macey is currently Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper but hasn’t played at all this season for the first-team and has only made the bench in the Carabao Cup.

Iliev, therefore, faces a difficult task in attempting to see any action at all for Arsenal at senior level, and it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if he was to depart permanently next summer.

For now, he is developing well at Sered and making the most of his regular game time.


Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Anyone else think he looks like Fabianski?! Good luck to him. I don’t think the door is as closed as it might seem at the moment.


It’s a nice thing to get detailed information on the youth and reserve team and players. But I’d like to collect some information about The Arsenal women youth and reserve team too.


Just joking


Hi, I am from Slovakia and I often watch our league games. If you are more interested in Iliev´s performances I can provide you more info about him.


Do it, and any young talents we should know of as well


He started very weakly. I was personally on his first game in our league and I did not like him. I think he caused the first goal with wrong decision, time 01:05 He also had problems with taking goal kicks in that game. He often runs out of goal and leave it alone. But as time goes he has improved and has got many good saves, for example first save here I think there is a deal between Sered and Arsenal that Iliev must play the whole season. However the difference between Slovak League and Premier League is… Read more »


I feel sorry for goalkeepers; the hardest position to compete for I should imagine.


My thoughts exactly as I read this article…I imagine the GK hierarchy at a lot of clubs prevents many young GKs from reaching their full potential.


Its between Macey and Iliev. Frankly its better on loan than third choice keeper. All 3 of Macey, Iliev and Martinez similar age or close to so someone (or two) may have to leave. Martinez for me has looked good this season and his decision making playing the ball out better IMO than Leno. Did some critical saves as well for us recently , maybe not as good a shot stopper as the German but they aren’t as far apart as may be imagined. If one should decide to leave (say martinez) with a better offer elsewhere and natural sentiment… Read more »


I beIliev in him.

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