By Manchester correspondent Alex Stevens

Manchester United will hold fresh talks with Pedro as they move closer to signing the forward from Barcelona, Football Insider sources understand.

The Premier League club are ready to trigger Pedro’s £22million release clause and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has flown back to the UK from the club”s training camp in the United States to thrash out a deal.

Barcelona are powerless to stop the 27-year-old ending his long association with the club if he reaches an agreement with another club.

Football Insider sources understand that the Spain international’s favoured option is to join United and link up with his countrymen Juan Mata, David de Gea and Ander Herrera.

United manager Louis van Gaal, who has spent £76million on five new signings so far this summer, has admitted he wants to “improve at least two positions” before the transfer window closes, with the Dutchman identifying a forward and an experienced centre-half as his two priority areas of reinforcement.

Pedro signed a four-year contract at Camp Nou last month, but it is understood that the player only committed to the new deal after negotiating a reduction in his buy-out clause from £110million to £22million.

Despite making a consistent contribution to Barcelona’s treble success last season, Pedro’s opportunities have been limited by the presence of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

The Barcelona academy graduate, who can play in all three forward positions, has scored 98 goals in 318 appearances for the Catalan club as well as an impressive 16 in 50 international matches.