Ferguson sent goalkeeping coach Eric Steele to watch Neuer in a German Cup tie against Bayern Munich last week.
Making the right noises: Neuer with Schalke fans after their clash with Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday
Schalke are likely to demand a fee in the region of £10million for their keeper, who will celebrate his 24th birthday next weekend.
United were hoping Ben Foster would fill Van der Sar's shoes, but he flopped and The Mirror are reporting that Neuer is now moving into pole position.
Van der Sar is contracted to United until the end of next season.
He showed his worth to the club once again on Saturday, making two brilliant saves during United's victory at Bolton.
United youngster Tom Cleverley wanted by Premier League clubsBolton 0 Man United 4: Defending champions are the ones to fear nowMANCHESTER UNITED FC