Etherington has failed to break into the side under Mark Hughes and so will not be offered a new deal when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The former West Ham winger is hoping to stay in the Premier League with a new club but is taking nothing for granted after a tough few months at Stoke.
Etherington is now 32 years old and he knows that he may not have many more years left at the top, so will put a lot of thought into his next move.
“I am definitely leaving,” said Etherington in the Sunday Mirror.
“I have not heard anything from the club, which is fair enough, I have not played a lot lately.
“I will have been there five years in the January just passed and it has been a great time so I am really sad it is coming to an end.
“But there are no hard feelings. I think they are looking to go a different way, which is absolutely fine.”