The 21-year-old midfielder had been approached by Tottenham, Liverpool and Inter Milan earlier this summer.
But now newly-promoted Southampton are on the verge of a huge coup by landing the Uruguay international, who has just played at the Olympics.
Saints boss Nigel Adkins was looking for a big name attacking midfielder and had failed with a bid for PSV Eindhoven's Dutch international Jeremain Lens, but he switched his attentions to Ramirez and looks to have got his man.
Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese has brokered the deal, which is believed to be worth €15million (£11.8million).
Ramirez has confirmed he is ready to fly to England to conclude a move to St Mary's.
"Bologna will tell me on Friday if I can move," he told the Corriere dello Sport.
"The truth is that I think, yes, this time I am moving. Bologna has reached an agreement with Southampton, and there are only a few details to be found but the agreement in principle is done."
Ramirez admits that Southampton have offered him very good terms, and he is happy to become a key player for them.
"The English club has reached an agreement with me, it is the classic offer that you cannot refuse for my life as a whole and my family.
"But they believe in me in every way, I will be essential and above all they are going to grow. Southampton is a newly promoted team in the English top-flight but they will become a big team in years to come.
"They have told me they are going to build and that is very stimulating."