David De Gea and Pedro futures next on list for Manchester United's Ed Woodward

LONDON. KAZINFORM - Ed Woodward has flown home from Manchester United's summer tour of America but the executive vice-chairman is expected to return to the US on Thursday before the match against Barcelona next weekend in Santa Clara.

Woodward had always planned to leave the trip this weekend, but he is currently addressing Louis van Gaal's hopes of signing Barcelona's Pedro and putting in place plans to replace David De Gea, should the goalkeeper join Real Madrid in a deal that United will only allow if Sergio Ramos moves the other way. Van Gaal wants to strengthen in two areas of the team before the transfer deadline. "We are not finished yet, I think," the manager told MUTV. "It is what I have said already in many press conferences. We need a balance in the selection and I think we still need to improve at least two positions and we shall do that when it is possible. But we shall only buy when the player can give a contribution to our level. And, of course, that is in the eyes of our staff, but I have to have confidence that he can cope with the rhythm of the Premier League." Pedro, who has a £22m release clause, would increase the manager's options in attack, while Ramos's arrival, should it happen, would bolster his defence. If De Gea does leave, the club have a plan in place, which could mean buying the Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, who was Van Gaal's No1 when the coach led Holland at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. United believe the Dutch club would allow Cillessen's sale even if it was close to the 1 September deadline, Kazinform quotes the Guardian. Woodward, who was in Seattle for the opening week of the tour and attended Friday evening's 1-0 win over Club América at CenturyLink Field, outlined United's approach to acquiring players. "It's actually fairly straightforward. We have a global scouting network that's all over many countries and key markets from a football perspective," he told MUTV. "The scouts are watching matches and we have a huge amount of data we purchase and a pyramid approach in terms of delivering that information to our chief scout and his team who are assessing it. So we're always able to look at a position and have our view in terms of the list of targets that we think will suit Manchester United and help our team. That list is then discussed with Louis [van Gaal] and his staff and there's a process of further analysis done. "Once Louis sets his targets - and I think it's always important to have more than one target for each position, because you have to accept that sometimes you may not get your first choice for whatever reason, so let's plan ahead and look at two and three - then all I do is go and negotiate the deals with the club and the player." Having already added Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian this close season, Woodward said planning begins at the previous campaign's start. "It's really September," he said. "Once the [summer] window closes, your scouts are then starting to look at the key areas where you think you may have a weakness and the whole process starts. The manager will have had four more months of working with the squad [by January] and have had much better visibility of who the ins and outs should be, but the work has to have started to get them. "There is [a list of names] because we track everything. That's what the scouting team does. It's relentless because you're immediately focused on the next [target]. To that extent, I am completely aligned with the fans. When we tell them we've signed a player, there is a moment of happiness but then it's about who's next. There is a lot of work involved in terms of negotiations and that is time-consuming, so I prefer to look back at it at the end of the window, see the players on the pitch and see how they've been blended into the squad."

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