Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has made no secret of his desire to push through a deal for England international Carroll, who scored seven times during a loan spell from Liverpool this season.
However, there are a number of stumbling blocks to a deal being completed, most notably the size of the fee Liverpool would demand and the 24-year-old's wage demands.
Nolan, who played with Carroll during their spells at Newcastle, hopes to see his good friend back in claret and blue, but feels the club must not pin all of their hopes on his signing.
"It will be massive if we do get Andy, but it is not the be all and end all," said Nolan.
"I have been with Sam a long time. When he did not manage to get his first man, he has always managed to get his second man and we always manage to do well.
"If he gets the chance to bring the quality of the players he wants, then I am sure we will be aiming for the higher echelons of the Premier League.
"I have a lot of faith that Sam will get the men he wants in the summer and will be working hard with the chairman to do that."
Nolan also understands that Carroll's own ambitions will be a bit factor in his final decision.
"Andy is a clever lad, he knows he has got to play football," added Nolan. "If he gets offered someone who are in the Champions League or the Europa League, then he has got to make the decision.
"I know he has enjoyed his time here, you can see that on the pitch, he gets on well with all the lads, so we will see what happens."