All around Calum Chambers stand those whose futures look increasingly uncertain.
Chambers’ parent club Arsenal are on the verge of missing out on UEFA Champions League football for the first time in 20 years, their coach Arsene Wenger facing the possibility of his 21-year reign at the club drawing to a bitter end.
Chambers’ current club Middlesbrough, meanwhile, are clinging to their Premier League status by a thread. Second-bottom with just three matches remaining, Boro sit six points off survival.
If not for their borrowed Gunner, however, Boro’s fate may well have already been sealed. The 22-year-old has been one of the few positives in a season that cost coach Aitor Karanka his job a few weeks ago, and which looks set to end with an immediate return to the division they fought so hard to escape.
And he was a hero for both his clubs this past weekend, starring as Boro ensured Arsenal’s rivals for a Champions League berth in Manchester City dropped points, while very nearly earning all three for the Wearsiders.
Selected as one of Goal’s 50 Rising Stars of FUT, Chambers was the star of the show at both ends of the pitch as he kept Boro’s hopes alive and ensured City didn’t move out of Arsenal’s sights.
“Pleased to score my first Boro goal but gutted not to take home the 3 points,” Chambers tweeted on an afternoon of mixed feelings for the England international.
The versatile defender struck with 13 minutes left to reinstall Boro’s lead over Pep Guardiola’s side, pouncing on an Alvaro Negredo back-heel inside the box that, for almost 10 minutes, made a home crowd feel that just maybe their side could do the impossible.
Chambers had defended gallantly all afternoon, with no Boro player making more than his nine clearances during a match of one-way traffic, with City dominating possession and firing off 22 shots at Brad Guzan’s goal.
A late Gabriel Jesus equaliser would leave Chambers and Boro deflated, however. Even the most optimistic of Wearsiders are accepting their fate.
For Chambers, the Premier League is his oyster. "In a very short time at Middlesbrough, he has become a very important player,” said Wenger. "They rely on him and trust him a lot, and that's very good news for Calum first, but also for us as well."
It may also be good news for others. A host of Premier League clubs have been linked with the defender in recent weeks, including Arsenal’s arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
A product of the prolific youth academy at Southampton, Chambers was tipped to follow in the footsteps of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain by swapping the south coast for North London and going on to become a Premier League star at the Emirates.
On a weekend that saw the Gunners overwhelmed by Spurs in the derby, he was one of very few Arsenal players to emerge from the weekend with any credit from Arsenal fans, the overwhelming majority of whom are concerned more than ever by what their future may hold.
For Chambers, however, the future looks bright. Whether at Emirates or elsewhere.