Deni Iliev reaches deal to join Mechelen

Dejan Iliev; photo: arsenal.comDejan “Deni” Iliev has departed Arsenal’s youth academy to move to Belgium with KV Mechelen.

The 19-year-old Dejan Iliev will become teammates with another Macedonian goalkeeper in Tome Pachovski.  Mechelen had just two keepers on its current roster, so they were looking for another addition.  They identified Iliev as one of their top targets, and recently reached an agreement with Arsenal for his transfer.

Iliev joined Arsenal’s youth academy in the summer of 2012 from Belasica.  However, he didn’t play regularly with Arsenal’s youth team as fellow keeper Matt Macey appeared to be the preferred starter late in the season.  Thus, with Macey entrenched as the starter, Iliev became expendable by Arsenal.

Over the past week, Mechelen and Arsenal negotiated the transfer of Iliev and Belgian media reported earlier on Monday that Dejan had agreed in principle to sign a 3-year contract with Mechelen.

Note*: Deyan is written in the tweets above because that’s how his first name is spelled in the Bulgarian language.  Iliev has dual Macedonian and Bulgarian passports, since he needed a passport from an EU country to move to Arsenal in the first place.

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