It is believed that the Royals have made the first move for United’s England international striker, and that Sir Alex Ferguson could be willing to let him go in a bid for him to gain more first team experience.
Welbeck, 22, enjoyed a break through season at Old Trafford in 2011/12 as he spent the majority of the campaign as part of Ferguson’s first choice pairing up front alongside Wayne Rooney, scoring nine league goals and providing five assists.
His form was enough to gain the attention of England manager Roy Hodgson, for whom he lead the line at the European Championships in the absence of the suspended Wayne Rooney in the summer.
However this season, the arrival of Robin van Persie from Arsenal, as well as the return to form of Mexican Javier Hernandez has seen Welbeck fall further down the pecking order.
It has been suggested that a deal for Reading boss Brian McDermott to bring him to the Madejski Stadium for the rest of the season could be sealed by the weekend.
Reading currently sit 19th in the league and are fighting for survival, but have seen an improvement in their form over recent games.
If their interest in Welbeck was to materialise, then it would be a real coup for the Berkshire club and boost their hopes of staying up.