He told Sky Sports (h/t the Telegraph and the Press Association) this could be his last season at Old Trafford: "There's always a chance of that isn't there?"
Per Sky Sports News HQ, he added:
Sky Sports News HQ @SkySportsNewsHQ
WATCH: @Carras16 confident @ManUtd will have say in @PremierLeague title race: https://t.co/cfoAn1bcWM #SSNHQ https://t.co/rHNhzkKQD62016-11-15 10:03:46
The 35-year-old was given a one-year contract extension in the summer following manager Jose Mourinho's arrival.
Carrick has only featured in six games for the Red Devils so far under the Portuguese, but he boasts an excellent record while on the field, per Squawka Football:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Man Utd have won 100% of their games when Michael Carrick has played this season. 6 games 6 wins 17 goals Perfect form. https://t.co/Qrafj8TCTK2016-11-6 18:13:42
That United have won every game in which Carrick has played—five of them being starts—is no coincidence.
While he's not particularly mobile and hasn't been for some time, Carrick's ability to dictate the tempo of games from midfield and exude a calming and controlling presence is undiminished.
In the Red Devils squad, perhaps only Bastian Schweinsteiger can match him in this regard, but the German looks likely to leave in January due to his ongoing struggle to convince Mourinho.
Football writer Liam Canning is a keen admirer of the Englishman's talents:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
If only Michael Carrick was 10 years younger. The way he balances the team and can pick a pass is superb. A shame he can't start every week.2016-11-6 15:39:02
Carrick is also important for another reason—like Andrea Pirlo at Juventus, he can help bring the best out of Paul Pogba.
As noted by Sky Sports' Adam Bate, Carrick has maintained a 96.55 per cent passing accuracy in the league this year—higher than any other United player—and makes more passes per 90 minutes than his team-mates.
Had Carrick enjoyed more time on the pitch this season, it's wholly possible Pogba could have hit the ground running at Old Trafford.
The Daily Mail's Adam Crafton is also a fan, but he believes Carrick can't be relied upon long term:
Adam Crafton @AdamCrafton_
Carrick was good today but will rarely have it easier. He's still a great asset for #mufc but mourinho needs to find future path without him2016-11-7 00:04:52
Indeed, if he does stay next year, he'll be 36 before the season starts and it's already evident he can't play each week.
Nevertheless, Carrick is proving he still has much to contribute—if he isn't given another extension at Old Trafford, there would likely be plenty of teams who would take him for free despite his age.
The 16-year-old—who turns 17 next month—has joined the first team in training this season and is also attracting interest from RB Leipzig, who trail Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga only on goal difference.
Chelsea's dismal record of bringing through young players in recent years—per Gill, they have a staggering 38 players out on loan this year—is well known, as is their tendency to let promising talents go, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among the most high-profile players to be sold without having a fair chance to prove themselves.
As such, the versatile James—who can play in midfield or in the back four—could be tempted to jump ship if United come in for him.