The 29-year-old defender can see himself heading to the USA when his City deal expires in 2018.
The 29-year-old centre-back has made 276 total appearances for City since arriving from German club Hamburg in August 2008 for around £6 million, while winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup in 2011 and the League Cup in 2014.
He is in no rush to leave Manchester at the moment but, having been following events at MLS-based sister club New York City FC closely during their inaugural season, admits that the league’s recent growth has left him considering a future stateside switch.
Speaking to NBCSports, the Belgium international said: “It has been crazy since they [Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard] have moved over because MLS is always on. You get to see so much of MLS now, so it’s actually becoming quite a relevant league to people over here.
“Obviously, we follow quite closely what New York City FC does. For us, it is quite important to be supportive towards that club as well. The level is increasing every single year. You see new franchises coming in, you see so many people going to the stadiums and they are also good stadiums now. I think it is just a fun league to be in so I wouldn’t be surprised to go over there when my contract comes to an end at City.”
NYCFC themselves sit in ninth-place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points from 33 games and have already been eliminated from play-off contention ahead of Sunday’s regular-season finale against the New England Revolution.
No expansion side has made the post-season since the Seattle Sounders in 2009 but that has not stopped speculation that head coach Jason Kreis’ job could now be under threat, despite his impressive MLS Cup-winning résumé from his time at Real Salt Lake.
City’s Elite Development Squad chief Patrick Vieira has even reportedly been lined up as a potential replacement, according to the likes of Sports Illustrated, forcing Kreis to address his future before the Revolution game at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s difficult, it’s not fun to be in this position where things like this are being thrown around you but it’s a part of the job,” he told EmpireOfSoccer.com following Friday’s opening training session. “It’s part of the job when you’re working with City Football Group and New York City and a city like New York. I understand the pressures of coaching. I understand that if you don’t do a good enough job and make the playoffs then you’re going to be under pressure and speculation.”
Despite missing the play-offs, the former MLS MVP also firmly believes that his side’s first season has been an overall success, adding: “I look at it in a positive way because we have ten wins. Without this last win that I’m hopeful for on Sunday, even without that, we’re the fourth-best expansion record of the 2000s.
“We’re the best expansion record ever with a team that didn’t have the team there for five years or prior. All of the teams that will finish above us had teams in existence for five years or more before their first MLS campaign so I think we have a lot to be proud of.”