MANCHESTER United supremo Martin Edwards has insisted Eric Cantona's future at Old Trafford is not under threat. The chief executive and chairman torpedoed suggestions that the 30-year-old Frenchman - inspiration of United's revival in the 90s - will be allowed to leave the club this summer. 'No discussions have taken place [with Eric] because these matters are always reviewed in the close season,' insisted Edwards. 'Eric Cantona is under contract to us for another year, and there is no issue, no justification for any kind of speculation.' United are angry at what they see as mischief-making in the light of the Champions' League semi-final defeat by Borussia Dortmund and conjecture about what moves manager Alex Ferguson will make to turn the club from European also-runs to winners. Cantona was seen as an obvious target after a poor season by his own standards, particularly by the moneymen and shareholders who back the club through its controlling public limited company. It was being suggested that they were unwilling to invest around GBP1.5 million for a two-year extension to the United skipper's current deal. But Edwards is adamant that they will never be allowed to over-rule Alex Ferguson's football interests, especially as to lose Cantona would be to risk a fans' revolt. And if Cantona has been subdued this year, he is still in line to collect his fourth championship winners' medal in five seasons with United, a fabulous return for Ferguson's GBP1 million coup in signing him from Leeds after learning that Howard Wilkinson was prepared to part with the skilful Frenchman. Ferguson, who has solidly backed the Gallic genius since his eight-month ban for kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace fan at Selhurst Park, believes he is a vital figure in the development of the young brigade at United. 'Eric bears a great responsibility in being captain,' Ferguson said. 'There's not a great deal of experience throughout the team so it puts even more responsibility on him,' he added. 'He's a football man and the young players look up to him. He gets on well with all of them and they listen to him. 'He loves training, and he fits in easily to everything we want from a Manchester United captain.' But United were disappointed in their hope of an inspirational performance from the Frenchman against Dortmund, compounded when he missed two excellent chances. 'He missed a great chance early on - I don't know if that affected him or not,' said Ferguson. Quite how the Frenchman would react to a big-name rival remains to be seen and Edwards' assurance that his future will be thrashed out this summer may not mollify him either. With a year left on his contract he could decide to see out his current deal, knowing he would then collect a personal fortune as a free agent in 1998. Or he could press for an immediate transfer this summer if he is unhappy with United's offer. At 31 next month he believes he is still in his prime. However, United is his spiritual home, the one club in his long and turbulent career where he has felt both settled and appreciated, and it would be a surprise if either party turned its back on each other and said 'au revoir'. Ferguson, inwardly disappointed that the Frenchman was not the key to Champions' League glory this season, has plenty of alternatives - letting Ryan Giggs run the show alongside Roy Keane the enforcer, or giving more responsibility to England's shooting star David Beckham. But Cantona has held together a team in flux, with five new signings last summer and so many fast-maturing kids - the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes - and led them to more domestic success. The United boss would be the last to underestimate his influence, even if it has been more apparent in the dressing room than on the field.