Jeremy Helan is to quit football at the age of 24 to devote himself to religion, The Star can reveal.
It is understood the Frenchman, who featured in Wednesday’s EFL Cup defeat at Cambridge United last month, had been thinking about calling it a day for some time.
His departure is expected to shortly be confirmed by the Championship club. Helan’s contract was due to run out at the end of the 2016/17 season.
The left-sided player, a devout Muslim, was initially signed on a temporary basis by Dave Jones in November 2012, making his debut in a 2-0 home defeat to Leicester City. After impressing across two loan stints at Hillsborough, Helan, a product of Manchester City’s youth system, completed a permanent switch the following summer, penning a four-year contract.
“Other clubs were aware of what he did here last season and wanted him on board, but he really enjoyed his time here and wanted to come back,” said Jones at the time.
“To get Jeremy on a permanent transfer represents a really good signing for the football club, and is a statement of intent because he is a really talented footballer. He is young and has a terrific future in the game.”
The utility man featured prominently in Stuart Gray’s side avoiding the drop two years ago, clocking up 48 appearances. Helan, who could be deployed in both the left full-back and wide midfield roles, also helped Wednesday seal a 13th-placed finish the following campaign.
Most of Helan’s outings under Carlos Carvalhal came as a substitute. Eighteen of his 26 appearances last time around in the team’s march to the Play-Off Final were from the bench.
After being frozen out at Wednesday, Helan was loaned out to Wolverhampton Wanderers last February.
Boss Kenny Jackett said, then, of the loan move: “He’s an attacking player and has a lot of pace and power, which is something we need in either position.”
He started eight times for Wolves and was set to spend the rest of the season at Molineux but an injury to Joe Bennett cut short his loan spell.
After returning to S6, Helan was brought on as a second-half sub in the second leg of their play-off semi-final with Brighton and Hove Albion and in the Final at Wembley against Yorkshire neighbours Hull City.
In total, Helan played on 145 occasions for the Owls, hitting three goals.