Bruce had been hopeful of trading Henri Camara and Jason Koumas for the player but, according to reports in the Mirror, Cardiff want the cash, forcing Bruce to go to chairman Dave Whelan to free up some funds.
Wigan completed the signing of Crystal Palace midfielder Ben Watson for £1.8 million on a three-and-a-half contract this week and Watson is in line to make his debut against Liverpool at the JJB Stadium on Wednesday.
Bruce expressed his delight in securing the services of the much sought after youngster and suggested his recruitment would not end there.
'I wanted to move quickly to start filling the gap left by Wilson Palacios and Ben is the start of that process.
'It speaks volumes about the progress of the club we can compete with established Premier League clubs for players and I'm delighted Ben has agreed to join us.
'Our supporters will take to him quickly because he's a real 100 per cent player.'