Eliaquim Mangala has admitted he could leave Manchester City during the January transfer window after falling down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium.
Since arriving from Porto in the summer of 2014, the France international has failed to establish himself in the Premier League and has made only five appearances in all competition this season, after spending last campaign on loan at Valencia.
Mangala, who arrived to City for £31.8m transfer fee, which then rose to around £42m due to costs as a result of his split ownership at Porto, looked on the verge of leaving the Etihad in the summer when he was linked with Inter Milan.
However, a move failed to materialise and the Frenchman remained with the two-time Premier League winners.
Mangala was included in the starting XI on Tuesday night (21 November) as City beat Feyenoord 1-0 in the Champions League, but prior to that he had only started two games in the Carabao Cup this term.
With the 2018 World Cup just over six months away, the 26-year-old is well aware he needs to play regularly in a bid to feature into Didier Deschamps' plans when the France manager names his squad.
"I'm very realistic," the Frenchman was quoted as saying by the Sun. "I know everything can happen. I am here today.
"Whether I will be here in two months, next summer, one year, you never know. The only thing you can do is to be focused on what I can control.
"At the moment I am in the squad, I am at this club. I am going to work, to help my team-mates, whether I am playing or not."
Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have been Pep Guardiola's preferred choices at centre-back so far this season. However, the former's fitness record remains a doubt, while Stones has been ruled out for six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury against Leicester City on Saturday (18 November), meaning Mangala could be set for an extended run in the team.
Following Stones' injury, Guardiola suggested the club would discuss the possibility of procuring further defensive reinforcements in January to address a "real, real problem" amid links to Southampton's Virgil van Dijk.
"We don't have a big squad," the Spaniard said. "We lost Vincent Kompany in an international game and now, John Stones. It is not easy to play 12 games in a short space of time. I will like seeing how we will react - how players will play in different positions than they are used to playing. Tough situations."