The show's creator is said to be planning a major overhaul for the next series and is prepared to spend "at least £2 million" to poach the Black Eyed Peas star from The Voice UK to facilitate Cole's full-time return.
The Girls Aloud singer was a popular judge between 2008 and 2010. She left for a role on The X Factor USA last year, but was axed after a few weeks. She later turned down an offer to return to the UK version, following manager will.i.am's advice.
However, Cole recently helped Gary Barlow out at Judges' Houses on the current series of The X Factor and producers think her comeback would increase falling ratings.
"We need to do something dramatic and this would be a coup. It would give us the best judging lineup in X Factor history," a source told The Mirror.
"One of the problems this year has been the judges so that's what we need to address. Will would be the best person on the planet to persuade Cheryl that one last hurrah could be fun. Though we realise it would be expensive."
The report adds that Cowell is even considering returning to the show himself, meaning next year's lineup could differ dramatically from the current panel of Tulisa Contostavlos, Nicole Scherzinger, Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh.
Cowell and will.i.am are said to be working on a technology-themed X Factor-style show to find the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
will.i.am is also due to appear on The X Factor USA at Judges' Houses.
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