Although it is unclear what deal Woodward is working on, he apparently told United officials of his immediate departure whilst they were at the State of Origin Rugby League match at ANZ Stadium.
Woodward was not at the game and is expected to return to Europe at some point on Thursday.
United have been linked with Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, and have already had one bid turned down by the Spanish champions.
Everton duo Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini have also been strongly tipped to join their former boss David Moyes at United - with the Merseysiders already rebuffing one offer for Baines.
Woodward's sudden decision to return to Britain comes as speculation continues over the future of unsettled striker Wayne Rooney, with United rejecting an approach from Premier League rivals Chelsea in the past 24 hours.
He was due to return home on Sunday and his decision to cut short his trip to the Far East indicates the urgency of the situation requiring his attention.
United could face competition for Fabregas' signature from three Premier League rivals, with their opening bid of £25million, communicated to Barcelona on Monday, sharpening interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.
For his part, Fabregas has repeatedly said he is happy in Catalonia, and that stance was reiterated by Barca boss Tito Vilanova on Tuesday as he said: "It's normal to receive offers for our players from other teams. We have very good players, and we have to be very happy to have Cesc with us.
"I am conscious that he has received offers for other teams, but I had a conversation with him and he let me know that we wanted to stay here, and his dream is to be successful here.
"So he is not thinking about any other club, not even for money or for minutes, even if he knows all the competition he has here with Xavi, Iniesta and also this year against Sergi and Roberto, but he told me that his dream is to be here. I'm not worried at all."
Red Devils goalkeeper David de Gea, meanwhile, would welcome Fabregas at Old Trafford.
He told the Daily Mail: "He is a great player, very skilful, knows how to win things and you always want those type of players in your team."