It was one tug of war Pompey did manage to finish victorious in during the transfer window.
Now Jonathan Hogg is banking on his Fratton Park stay establishing him as a Premier League star.
The Blues beat off interest from Leeds, Watford, Sheffield United and Hibernian to land the highly-regarded midfielder on loan.
It was a rare triumph in an otherwise disastrous January in terms of recruiting.
Still, the 22-year-old appears to have been an inspired signing by Steve Cotterill – albeit on a temporary basis.
After a quiet debut against Burnley, the Aston Villa midfielder produced outstanding performances against QPR and Derby.
Even this early in his Fratton career, it appears Pompey have an influential performer.
As for Hogg, he’s just grateful for being given the stage to enhance his ever- blossoming reputation.
And he’s eyeing an assault on Gerard Houllier’s Villa first team at the end of it.
He said: ‘I came here because I just needed to keep getting experience.
‘I had a word with the gaffer (Houllier) and he said it was a good idea in terms of next year to go out and get some more playing time now.
‘To me, this was the perfect place to come.
‘I love it. The club has been brilliant to me, the boys have been brilliant, the gaffer, the staff as well – it is everything I could ask for.
‘I’m hoping for game time on the pitch.
‘The more experience I get, the better I will be able to deal with the Premier League if, hopefully, I get a chance next year.
‘It’s important for me to get this opportunity. At my age I need to get more games under my belt.
‘I’ve played a few Premier League games this season but I can play a lot more for Portsmouth, which is why I am here.’
Having signed a new two-and-a-half year contract with Villa in December, it is clear Hogg’s future is at Villa Park.
The Middlesbrough-born youngster started seven games at the tail end of 2010, including fixtures with Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs.
But with the return from injury of a host of rival Villa midfielders, Hogg was going to find further chances restricted this season.
Now he’s at Pompey – and hoping to make a big impact.
He added: ‘I want to show what I can do and I know I can get up and down, box to box for 90 minutes.
‘It’s not a problem for me.
‘I’ll work 100 per cent and give my hardest to the team and I can also keep the ball.
‘Hopefully, I can also get on the scoresheet in the next couple of games – that would be nice as well.
‘I should have done better at QPR the other week when a shot came to my left foot, which is not my strongest point.
‘If it was on my right I would have done a bit better.
‘Let’s just hope I can improve on that soon.’