United close in on Fabregas as vice-chair Woodward leaves pre-season tour to push through move for former Gunner
United remain confident of securing the services of Fabregas despite Barca's insistence he wants to remain at the Nou Camp and Arsenal having a £25million first refusal on their former captain.
Senior figures within the Barclays Premier League champions' camp are of the opinion Fabregas wishes to join them, although it may take more than the £26m they bid for him earlier this week.
Target: Manchester United want to add former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to their midfield
Fabregas played for Arsenal between 2003 and 2011 but has a long-running admiration of the Old Trafford club.
Speaking to a Sunday newspaper ahead of a Champions League semi-final between Arsenal and United in 2009, Fabregas admitted: 'I'm a massive Man United fan. I have no problem saying United are one of the best clubs in the world – even though I want to beat them. They are the best side in the world at the moment – a top, top side and we respect them a lot.'
Woodward's departure comes on the same day United revealed they had turned down a bid from Chelsea for striker Wayne Rooney - a player boss David Moyes has maintained is not for sale.
Bold move: Chelsea have made a bid for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney
Sportsmail understands the initial offer on Tuesday was £10m cash plus David Luiz or Juan Mata but Chelsea deny involving the two players in their bid.
The London club then returned with a second offer of £22m outright - but that was also rejected by United, who told their Premier League rivals not come back with another offer.
In addition, Everton duo Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini have been strongly linked with moves to join their old boss Moyes.
Leaving on a jet plane: Ed Woodward (second right) is no longer in Australia as United try to land Fabregas
There is an acknowledgement at United that the massive shake up during the summer, with the departures of both manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill have left the club with a bit of catching up to do in the transfer market.
Thus far, the only signing of the summer has been Uruguay Under 20 defender Guillermo Varela, who has not even reported for duty yet.
Thiago Alcantara and Kevin Strootman, who were both strongly linked with United, have opted to join Bayern Munich and Roma respectively, leaving Moyes still needing to sign the additional midfielders he believes are required.