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Montanier leaves Sociedad for Rennes

Philippe Montanier will leave his post at Spanish side Real Sociedad to take over at French club Stade Rennes this summer, it has been confirmed.

Frenchman Montanier, who has guided La Real to the brink of surprise Champions League qualification for next season, was reportedly unable to agree terms on a new contract at Anoeta, and has taken up an offer to manage the ambitious Ligue 1 side next season.

A statement on Rennes official website read: "Philippe Montanier... accompanied by his deputy Michel Troin, succeeds Fréderic Antonetti as coach of the professional team of Stade Rennais FC. They will join the group on the first Monday of July."

Speculation that the Frenchman was set to leave has been rife around San Sebastian in recent weeks, and the Basque club confirmed the news in a statement on Tuesday.

"The first-team coach Philippe Montanier has communicated to Real Sociedad his decision not to accept the offer of a new contract extension and, therefore, will separate from the txuri-urdin club at the end of the 2012-13 season, when his current contract finishes," the statement read.

La Real are currently fourth in the Primera Division, level on points with Valencia, but in front via their head-to-head record. Both teams have just two games remaining, with Montanier's side facing Real Madrid at Anoeta this Sunday, then Deportivo la Coruna away on the final weekend. Wins in both those games would ensure the club a first European campaign in a decade.

Tuesday's club statement went on to say that no further comment would be made on the situation until after these last two matches had been played.

"In these moments, when a gold seal can be put on an excellent season, Real Sociedad wishes to put aside all types of questions not relevant to this competition and to centre all its energies on achieving the objective which it is now considering," it said. "For this reason, Real Sociedad will speak about the matter after the two games which are still play."

Montanier, 48, took charge of a newly promoted side at Anoeta for the beginning of the 2011-12 season and has not always been popular with fans during his time in charge. The team were in the relegation zone as recently as last November, when a win at Malaga reportedly saved the Frenchman's job. This began the astounding run of just one defeat in their next 23 games which has positioned the club for a return to Europe.

Bordeaux and Nantes were also reportedly interested in now hiring Montanier but Rennes, whose millionaire owner Francois-Henri Pinault is now set to invest heavily in the club, got his signature.

AS claimed on Tuesday that Sevilla coach Unai Emery, a San Sebastian native, was La Real president Jokin Aperribay's choice to take charge for next season. Current Newell's Old Boys coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino, a reported candidate to succeed Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, may also be considered.

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