The US international has been linked with a move to the Madejski Stadium since the summer.
Zardes, 24, was a reported target for Reading and a number of other European sides in the summer [h/t MLSSoccer.com], and while a move failed to materialise in the end, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl has since claimed that an unnamed Championship club has lodged a $3 million [£1.97 million] bid for his signature ahead of the winter transfer window.
In addition, with the Galaxy working hard to create salary cap room this offseason, club president Chris Klein also confirmed last month that the US international has been the subject of several transfer enquiries in recent weeks.
Clarke did not reveal whether Reading have indeed bid for Zardes, but he did admit that the 18-times capped American has been on the club’s radar for some time, telling Get Reading: “Zardes has been on a few clubs' radar for a little while. He’s a player that we’ve had watched and we’ve got some reports on him.
“He’s another possibility that’s out there. Can we afford him? That’s probably not a question I can answer.”
Zardes originally joined the Galaxy in December 2012 as a homegrown player and has since recorded 26 goals and 10 assists in 88 regular season appearances for the club, while also helping them win the 2014 MLS Cup with the opening goal in the 2-1 final win over the New England Revolution.
After a 16-goal 2014 campaign, the California native netted just six times this past term due to spending most of his time on the wing following the summer signing of Giovani dos Santos, but his impressive performances have still seen him become a regular starter for the US national team in the meantime.
The pacey attacker, who has lined up alongside Reading midfielder Danny Williams for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side, is now almost certain to be moving to Europe in the near future, although he himself has kept tight-lipped amid the rumours of an imminent transfer.
“There's so many rumors out there,” he told MLSsoccer.com last month. “There's so many other people out there [saying], 'Hey, this team is interested in you,' and I'm just, like, that's not my focus. I'm an LA Galaxy player and this is my primary focus and this is my job, this is my team, these are my coaches, and today – right now, this moment – is the only moment that matters.
“Anything can happen once I walk out those doors [away from StubHub Center], but this [right now] matters, you know?”
Zardes is not the only MLS player who could potentially join Reading in January either, as Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers has been on trial at the Madejski for the past fortnight and has so far made a positive impression.