Wigan striker Henri Camara has signed on loan for Stoke until the end of the season. The 31 year old Senegal international said the wish to play regular football prompted him to seek a move elsewhere.
"I hope they (the fans) understand I need to play. I had a wasted year at West Ham - and I have spent most of this season on the bench," he said.
"I understand and respect Steve Bruce totally. But when I was given this chance, I felt I had to take it for the sake of my career.
"I want to say a really big thank-you to the Wigan fans, who have been magnificent to me.
"I will never forget that, and the club will always stay in my heart."
Latics boss Bruce said he allowed Camara to leave out of respect to the player.
"I like Henri as a player. He's looked great whenever he has played this season, getting a couple of really crucial goals for us," said the Wigan boss.
"However, I can understand that he wants to put himself in the shop window and play and I could not give him that promise here.
"Out of respect to him and to what he has done for the club in the past, I have not stood in his way now."