ARSENAL fan, Ronan Curtis admits yesterday’s UEFA Europa League draw ‘blew his mind’ when he saw the ‘Gunners’ paired with the Swedish club he came so close to joining last August.
The Derry City striker was on the verge of joining Swedish minnows, Östersund in the summer before the deal broke down at the final hour after the player failed to agree personal terms.
And despite watching the London club he’s supported from the age of seven get drawn against the Swedes in the last 32 of the competition, Curtis insists he has no regrets about turning down a move.
“I saw the draw today and it was mind-blowing to think of what could’ve been - it’s crazy,” said Curtis.
“It’s a good draw for them, they’ve done really well to get there and they’ve got the big draw they were hoping for.
“It would be amazing to play against a team like Arsenal. I’ve always supported Arsenal, since I was six or seven years of age.
It would be amazing to play against a team like Arsenal who I’ve always supported Arsenal, since I was six or seven years of age.Ronan Curtis
“But I have no regrets about not signing, it was up to me at the end of the day and we couldn’t agree personal terms. That’s how the cookie crumbles and it didn’t work out.
“Hopefully they do well. It would’ve been a lovely achievement to play against Arsenal but it didn’t work out like that.”
Östersund claimed a shock win over Galatasaray in the second qualifying round and then finished second in a group featuring Athletic Club and Hertha Berlin before earning a glamour tie against Arsene Wenger’s side.
It’s a match Curtis would love to be involved in but he’s hoping Derry City can draw top opposition of their own when the 2018/19 Europa League campaign begins next summer.
“Thats the thing, we could get a glamour draw of our own. We got the hardest draw last year with FC Midtjylland but hopefully we get a decent draw next year and see how far we can get.”
The Republic of Ireland U21 international, who still has one year remaining on his Derry City contract, has high hopes for the season ahead.
“We’re back fully on January 3rd but we’re in gym three days a week at the minute and I can’t wait until the first game in February. I’ve a big season coming up and looking forward to it. There’s a good few players signed up and the competition is on, so that’s what you want.”