Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to be close to completing a swoop for the 20-year-old, who is expected to undergo a medical at United within the next 48 hours ahead of a £15m move.
Zaha is reported to have agreed a five-and-a-half year deal with the Red Devils, but will be loaned back to Palace to help their bid to secure promotion to the Premier League.
Schmeichel believes the England international would be a special signing for United, praising Ferguson’s desire to safeguard the club’s long-term future at the top of the English game.
“It just shows you what this club is all about – we look into the future,” the former United goalkeeper told BBC Radio Manchester.
“This is something Sir Alex has done ever since he came here. My understanding is if he signs he’s going to be loaned straight back so he won’t have any kind of impact on this season.
“But whenever there is a talented, special player out there, I think we are the kind of football club that needs to go out there and try and grab that talent.”