Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has said Thomas Lemar "hasn't been able to live up to expectations" at the club amid continued speculation regarding a possible transfer.
Lemar arrived at Atletico from Monaco in the summer of 2018, and he was considered one of the most exciting rising stars in European football having excelled in Ligue 1. However, he has struggled to adapt to life in the Spanish capital and La Liga.
Speaking on the eve of Atletico's La Liga clash with Levante, Simeone said he remains a big admirer of the player, albeit he couldn't guarantee he would be at the club beyond the midseason window, per Joe Wright of Goal:
"Facts speak better than words. Lemar is an important player who hasn't been able to develop his game but who has characteristics that others don't have. Let's hope he has a good moment when he comes back from injury.
"Now, if Lemar can stay or not...we know that agents work in an exemplary way. Clubs work in terms of the needs of the clubs. But, as a footballer, every time he has been available, he's played a lot more than he hasn't played.
"His characteristics have always excited me. But he hasn't been able to live up to expectations."
Spanish football writer David Cartlidge said in December he can't envisage Lemar becoming a regular at the Wanda Metropolitano:
Per The Spanish Football Podcast, Simeone has done a lot to try to draw more from the France international:
Atletico have endured an inconsistent campaign, but they still sit in fourth place in the Spanish top flight. They've struggled for productivity and incision in the final third, with just 20 goals scored in their 18 La Liga games.
Lemar has started nine of those matches, as well as one in the UEFA Champions League. However, he's yet to register a goal or an assist in the 2019-20 campaign.
Per Spanish football writer Andy West, Lemar hasn't been involved enough in the game when given opportunities:
Lemar is a shadow of the player who lit up Ligue 1, memorably helping Monaco win the title in the 2016-17 season. Playing off the left flank, Lemar's movement into dangerous areas, vision and set-piece proficiency made him a huge asset for the swashbuckling team.
At 24, there's every chance he can rediscover some form again soon, although at this point, with Simeone's belief in the midfielder seemingly beginning to seep away, it appears unlikely he'll kick on in Madrid.