It is not clear what deal Woodward might be needed to work upon but journalists understand he told United officials of his immediate departure whilst they were at Wednesday night's State of Origin match at ANZ Stadium.
Woodward was not at the game but will instead land in Europe at some point on Thursday.
The development is hugely significant given Woodward was due to return home on Sunday anyway, rather than fly onto Japan for the next leg of United's five-match tour.
Whilst it is not known where Woodward is going to, or which deals he is going to be working on, it will not stop intense speculation about his plans.
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.
United remain confident of securing the services of Cesc Fabregas despite Barcelona's insistence the player wants to remain at the Nou Camp.
Senior figures within the Red Devils camp are of the opinion Fabregas wishes to join them, although it may take more than the £26million they bid for the player earlier this week.
In addition, Everton duo Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini have been strongly linked with moves to join their old boss at Everton.
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.