USMNT youngster Indiania Vassilev has signed a new two-year contract at Aston Villa as the teenage striker continues to push towards a starting spot for the Premier League club.
Vassilev, 19, has made various cameo appearances off the bench so far this season and Villa boss Dean Smith is a big fan of the Georgia native who is now contracted to the Birmingham club until the summer of 2022 as he was due to be out of contract this summer.
And yes, if you haven’t heard by now, his parents named him Indiana after Indiana Jones.
“It was a no-brainer for me. This past year the club have supported me a lot and I’ve been able to break into the first team,” Vassilev said. “Since I’ve done that, I’ve received a lot of support from staff and players. I’m really, really happy to have signed for another two years. I’ve got to keep working hard and hopefully the future will hold a lot of great things.”
Vassilev made his Villa debut in January against Fulham in the FA Cup and has since appeared against Leicester in the League Cup semifinal, plus Watford and Brighton in the Premier League.
His clever link up play, work rate and direct running is something Villa may need to call on in the final weeks of the season as they currently sit in the relegation zone but have a game in hand as they aim to stay in the Premier League. Vassilev has been at Villa since 2018 and has become a prominent figure, and goalscorer, in their U23 side.
Now is the chance for him to stake his claim as a regular in the first team.
Top striker Wesley is out injured, while Mbwana Samatta and Keinan Davis are Villa’s other forward options with Vassilev knocking on the door as none of Villa’s strikers have really taken to life in the Premier League.
There’s a big opportunity for him to become a regular in the next two years and even if Villa are relegated this season, spending a year finding his feet in the Championship wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Of course, Indiana will be hoping Villa can escape from falling through the Premier League’s trap door and entering the Temple of Doom.