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Ed Woodward with Jose Mourinho.

Ed Woodward did not travel to China with Manchester United squad

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Manchester United today departed for China as they continue their pre-season schedule ahead of the new campaign.

Yet, with news that the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial and James Wilson aren't travelling, a lot of the talk has been about who isn't heading to the Far East, rather than who is.

And that talk will only increase after a report from The Times this evening revealed that United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was another not on board.

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As noted by the newspaper, Woodward has decided not to travel as he continues efforts to complete a deal for Juventus and France midfielder Paul Pogba.

Instead, Woodward is believed to be meeting with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola tomorrow as talks continue about a transfer that is reportedly set to cost the Red Devils around £100 million if, and when, it is completed.

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The United executive does, of course, have previous when it comes to pre-season tours and chasing big name signings.

He infamously jetted back from the Manchester club's tour of Australia in 2013 in an effort to secure the signing of Cesc Fabregas, only for the Spaniard to sign for Chelsea.

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The fact that Woodward hasn't even taken the risk of flying out with the first team squad this time around suggests that the Pogba deal is far closer to becoming a reality than the Fabregas deal ever was.

This afternoon's news is the latest twist in the tails of a transfer saga that has rumbled on throughout the summer.

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Raiola had, only earlier today, claimed that all the reports about Pogba were "bulls**t", yet the fact Woodward isn't heading off to China would have to be a major coincidence if it didn't have anything to do with the Juventus star.

What's more, Sky Italia claimed on Tuesday that United had made their first official bid for their former player, worth an initial £87 million.

While Jose Mourinho will be trying to focus on games against Manchester City and Bayern Munich out in the Far East, he will surely be in regular contact with Woodward to see how things progress back in Manchester this week.

The signing of Pogba would immediately strengthen United's squad and, in many people's eyes, would once again put them amongst those teams challenging for the Premier League title when the new season gets underway next month.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Football
Premier League
Juan Mata
Manchester United
Ryan Giggs

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