Fernandez to become Montpeiller coach
© AFP

Jean Fernandez will take up the reigns as manager of Montpellier next season, the Ligue 1 club confirmed today.

Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin made the announcement on the club's official website, with Fernandez signing a two-year deal which will see him take over from Rene Girard on 1 July.

Fernandez has previously managed clubs in Tunisia and Saudi Arabia as well as in France, where he was named manager of the year in the 2009/10 season after guiding Auxerre into the Champions League.

A statement on the club's official website said: "President Louis Nicollin announced today that Jean Fernandez will be the next coach of MHSC. He succeeds Rene Girard, effective 1 July.

"Born in Mostaganem, and former player of Beziers, Marseille, Bordeaux and Cannes, Jean Fernandez began his coaching career in the club on the French Riviera (Cannes).

"It is there that has built a solid reputation as a trainer, including being the man who discovered a certain Zinedine Zidane.

"Thereafter, this passionate technician, worker and perfectionist who lives 200% for football, exercised his talents in France (Cannes, Nice, Sochaux, Metz, Marseille, Auxerre and Nancy), but also abroad in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

"A free agent since leaving Nancy in January, Jean Fernandez will start on an initial two-year contract and will become the 15th coach in the history of Montpellier."

Nicollin also told L'Equipe that the 58-year-old Fernandez has been a target of his for some time.

He said: "I have wanted to work with this man with whom I share values for a long time but the circumstances never allowed us to do so."

Girard will leave Montpellier after joining the club in 2009 and leading them to a surprise Ligue 1 title last season, the first in the club's history.

Montpellier are currently eighth in the overall league standings after struggling to recreate last season's form.