The Manchester Evening News says the United boss tried and failed to sign the Valencia star last summer, but hopes to make him his marquee capture following the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.
Silva, however, is seen as a more than useful recruit with United still in the hunt for a world class left-sided midfielder.
Ferguson has yet to effectively replace Ryan Giggs since the Welshman was converted from a left winger to a central midfielder.
Nani has failed to make the position his own, while Ji-Sung Park is not a natural winger.
Zoran Tosic is still seen as too fragile to cope with the rigours of a full Premier League season and new signing Gabriel Obertan is also one for the future.
Ferguson is a long time admirer of Silva, having been knocked back in his attempt to bring the 23-year-old to Old Trafford last year.