The Gunners lost Olivier Giroud to an ankle injury at the end of their 2-2 draw with Everton over the weekend, and have been left with little in the way of back-up for the Frenchman.
Rookie hit-man Yaya Sanogo – who hasn’t found the back of the net in the league since joining the club over a year ago – is the only orthodox replacement, while summer signing Alexis Sanchez can be used in the role, even though he was hooked at half-time against the Toffees for failing to make any impact as the focal point of the attack.
One player to have been mooted as an option for the now desperate Arsene Wenger is Welbeck, who is thought to be free to leave United for the right price.
Louis van Gaal is understood to have deemed him surplus to requirements since taking charge, but a reluctance to do business with a rival means that he will not come cheap.
£16m is the fee the Red Devils want, which is believed to be around £4m more than the London club want to spend.
Welbeck himself is open to the move, with his first-team opportunities at Old Trafford now dependent on injuries to key men such as Wayne Roone, Robin van Persie and even Javier Hernandez.