Cole senses United's rivals sense the chance to pounce.
Cole told the Manchester Evening News: “If I were a player at United now I would be looking forward to it as a challenge. It is a challenge with a new boss arriving and all the opponents who’ll see this as a chance to dethrone the Reds.
“All the clubs will be looking forward to next season now because they will all think they have half a chance now that Fergie has retired.
“The top ones will be thinking they’ve got a great chance of winning it. Clubs will want to strike while the iron’s hot.
“Everybody will be looking at it that way.
“Chelsea are going to spend money. Jose Mourinho looks like he is going back there and we all know what he will bring to Stamford Bridge. It looks like Manuel Pellegrini is going to City and they will spend money and already they have a very good squad.
“If they add a couple of more players they will be competing strongly next season.
“Arsenal are going to spend now and so they will be in there.
“We cannot say United are going to win the title next season because everybody will be involved in the mix again and all that is part of why everyone should be eagerly anticipating the test ahead.”