He returned to the club under Sam Allardyce but was rarely used and suffered with injuries before being released to join Aston Villa.
The Irons have officially enjoyed their best ever season in the Premier League era and have a positive goal difference for the first time since 1986.
The club makes the big move from the Boleyn Ground to the 60,000 seater Olympic Stadium in the summer and speculation has been rife about potential signings to help the Hammers push on and challenge for honours.
Owners David Sullivan and David Gold have already admitted that most of their summer budget will be spent on a top striker and Sullivan also conceded an interest in superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as reported by the like of the Mirror.
'The right decisions have to be made'
But Cole, who still keeps a keen on on the goings on at his first club, has told Sky Sports the owners must be careful how they conduct their business.
"This summer is so important for the club," Cole told Sky Sports' Fantasy Football Club.
"The right decisions have to be made in terms of who they bring in.
"I would say don't go for the marquee signings to get the pundits in because the pundits will be there anyway, they'll fill the ground up.
"Get players that are going to make your team better... West Ham are big players now."
Stick to new policy
Cole makes a salient point given that West Ham's transfer policy overhaul has served them so well in the last two seasons.
With Tony Henry brought in as their chief talent scout and a general policy to identify younger, talented and hungry players under 27 reaping its rewards.
Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini and Sam Byram are perfect cases in point.
There is no reason to abandon that structure now, and should the club start signing big stars with egos and salaries to match it could unsettle what is a fantastic squad and great team spirit.