Jagoba Arrasate has been appointed as Real Sociedad's new coach following the departure of Philippe Montanier to Rennes, club president Jokin Aperribay has confirmed. Arrasate becomes Sociedad's youngest ever head coach at just 35 years old and doesn't have any full managerial experience, although he was part of Montanier's technical team this past season.
And Aperribay highlighted the need for continuity after a fine season which saw Sociedad qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in a decade.
"Jagoba Arrasate will be the next coach, he is the suitable candidate to continue the strategic line of the past few years," he told a press conference.
Aperribay denied rumours that former France manager Laurent Blanc had been in contention for the job and said the only other person they had contacted about the post had been Gerardo Martino who is currently in charge of Newell's Old Boys. However, with Martino wanting to continue with the Argentine club until their participation in the Copa Libertadores comes to an end, Sociedad went for the inexperienced Arrasate.
"Once Montanier closed the door on continuing we thought about two names, Martino and Arrasate," Aperribay said. "Jagoba has full knowledge of what Real Sociedad is and complied with the characteristics we were looking for. It is not a bet, we want to continue with the sporting line we have been on. It was the opportune moment for him to assume the responsibility."
Arrasate has only previously been in charge of sides in Sociedad's youth system, but after impressing with his work in the club's academy was promoted to the first-team coaching staff this season. Sociedad ensured their qualification for the preliminary stages of the Champions League in a dramatic final day of the La Liga season as their 1-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna combined with Valencia's 4-2 defeat at Sevilla saw the Basques leapfrog Los Che into fourth.
However, Montanier had already decided to join Ligue 1 side Rennes next season as he had only been offered a one-year contract extension by Sociedad, compared to the three-year deal he was offered by the French club. Sociedad will, however, face a tough task if they are to reach next season's group stage of the Champions League as they could face one of Arsenal, Schalke 04, AC Milan, Lyon or Zenit St Petersburg in the qualifying rounds.