Ed Woodward, Manchester United's executive vice-chairman, flew out of the pre-season tour in Australia on Wednesday evening to attend urgent transfer business, with the club braced for Wayne Rooney to lodge an official transfer request.
With Woodward bound for Europe, high on his agenda will also be the pursuit of Cesc Fàbregas after Barcelona turned down United's £26m initial bid for David Moyes's prime target. Having done so, Barcelona are yet to make any public statement confirming that Fàbregas is not for sale. Other players interesting the Scot and who Woodward may address are Everton's Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, and Chelsea's David Luíz.
Rooney believes it may be difficult to work with Moyes following his fury at the manager's comments that he is now second choice to Robin van Persie as striker. Rooney had long-standing issues with Sir Alex Ferguson before his retirement and is dismayed at the comments from Moyes and his fall in status at the club. With United maintaining he is not for sale, Rooney will have to force through any move away by making an official request.
Rooney worked on his fitness alone at Carrington, United's training base, on Wednesday with the striker confident that he will be ready for the start of the season, though where he may be playing is not yet clear.
Chelsea have lodged a £20m bid for Rooney which United rejected, indicating they would not welcome a further offer.
While Chelsea denied that they had offered one of two players as part of any deal, it is understood that Moyes does retain an interest in David Luiz, the Brazil defender.
Woodward may return for the final leg of the tour in Hong Kong, but he was always due to miss next week's part in Japan.