Scouting the transfer market for players with a low current rating but a high potential for the future is a big part of the fun in FIFA 18’s career mode. Every successful dribble, pass and goal improves the player’s stats, and with every upward tick of their overall rating comes a feeling of satisfaction at having found the next world-class star for a bargain price.
Enter Abouchabaka. This wonderkid, currently under contract at Leipzig, might not raise too many eyebrows with a rating of 62 at CAM (M/M workrates, 3-star skill moves, 3-star weak foot), but astute armchair managers should see past this and focus on his potential of 86, which would put him on par with none other than Bayern Munich star and fellow left-footer James Rodriguez.
This rating variance of 24 points makes Abouchabaka the Bundesliga CAM with most growth potential in the game.
In real life
Whether or not he manages to equal the Colombian’s exploits in real life remains to be seen, but Abouchabaka has already built up an impressive youth career. Having started at Hertha Berlin, he moved to Leipzig at age 15 for a youth-record fee. Since then, he has made his way through the ranks to earn himself a professional contract for the 2017/18 season at just 17.
Most recently, he stood out at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 wearing the number 10 shirt for Germany. The young Mannschaft reached the quarter-finals with Abouchabaka involved in all five tournament matches, alongside other stars of the future such as Hamburg striker Jann-Fiete Arp, the Bundesliga’s first goalscorer born in the year 2000 (and another FIFA 18 career mode player to keep an eye on).
In a recent interview with FIFA.com, Leipzig and Germany U-17 teammate Nicolas Kühn praised Abouchabaka’s “ability to read play and his overall football intelligence”. The youngster's playmaking ability and creativity are his biggest assets, according to Kühn.
“Elias is great at setting up chances. We've been playing together since 2015 and have built up a good understanding”, said the striker, who nevertheless thinks his teammate could still improve his shooting off his weaker right foot.
Even though comparisons to Mesut Özil have been drawn by the German press, Abouchabaka has a different number 10 as his role model: Zinedine Zidane. “I first saw him at the 2006 World Cup, he inspired me to love football”, said the young talent who will look to become not the next James or Mesut, but the first Elias Abouchabaka.
While the rest of the world waits for Abouchabaka's first-team introduction, you can go and sign him for your FIFA 18 career mode squad to get a glimpse into Leipzig and Germany's future.
Watch: Abouchabaka’s RB Leipzig teammates take on the #FIFA18 Bundesliga Freekick Challenge