Sunderland were linked with a move for the former England frontman when Sam Allardyce was in charge.
Sunderland tried desperately to recruit a new striker on deadline day, after the news that Victor Anichebe could miss the rest of the campaign through injury.
It was however, to no avail, leaving manager David Moyes with only the free agent market if he wants to bring reinforcements.
One currently unattached player should be well known to Sunderland fans, having been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light as recently as autumn 2015, only to sign for Celtic instead (Sunderland Echo).
Sunderland's Victor Anichebe
With Jermain Defoe and Fabio Borini Sunderland's only fit strikers, Moyes is in need of someone a bit less lightweight to replace Anichebe, and it would be little surprise if six-foot-three Cole is considered by the Scot.
After leaving Celtic in June, the 33-year-old went to play for United Soccer League side Sacramento Republic, but returned to the UK last autumn and trained with former employers West Ham United, so it shouldn't take too long to get him up to speed.
Former Celtic striker Carlton Cole
Though Cole would be no one's first choice, you know what they say about beggars and choosers.
Could Cole do a job for Sunderland?