It is understood the Atletico Madrid player, who helped Spain Under-21s to victory in the European Championship in Denmark last week, has already been in Manchester for a medical at Old Trafford. With no problems expected, De Gea is likely to complete his move, reported to be worth around 17 million, in the next few days. He will be the third new recruit at Old Trafford this month, following the arrival of Blackburn's England Under-21 international Phil Jones and Aston Villa winger Ashley Young.
Ferguson hopes De Gea will be the long-term successor to Edwin van der Sar, who retired at the age of 40 at the end of last season.
The Scot's recruitment of goalkeepers has not always been the best, with some notable outstanding successes but plenty of signings who have very quickly fallen by the wayside.
Following mixed success with Jim Leighton, Mark Bosnich and Les Sealey, he recruited Peter Schmeichel from Brondby for 550,000 in 1991 and the Denmark international went on to become one of the club's greatest goalkeepers and certainly the best of the Premier League era.
However, a successor for Schmeichel proved hard to find and Ferguson did not unearth a goalkeeper of comparable consitency until Van der Sar was recruited from Fulham.
The likes of Tony Coton, Raimond van der Gouw, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Roy Carroll, Ricardo, Tim Howard and Ben Foster were all recruited but failed to fully deliver what Ferguson was hoping for.
The arrival of De Gea, aged just 20, adds instant quality with the promise of the realisation of greater potential. Such is the Spaniard's reputation that compatriot and Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, who seems likely to face De Gea when the north-west rivals clash at Anfield on 15 October, reacted positively to the player's move.
"I very much welcome this news because David is a great keeper," he told La Gaceta. "When it becomes official he is going to start working to prove in the Premier League what a good goalkeeper he is."
Following the retirements of Van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, Ferguson has moved quickly to strengthen in three areas, bringing in players who all - in theory - should have their best years ahead of them.
Ferguson is believed to want to add more creativity to his midfield and has been linked with Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder and Arsenal's Samir Nasri.