The ex-Chelsea boss is not the only manager credited with an interest in the Spanish international, who has failed to shine under Jose Mourinho.
He showed his frustration at his substitution against Southampton earlier this week, prompting speculation he could leave Chelsea this month.
Manchester United and Paris St Germain have also been mentioned as potential suitors for the ex-Valencia star. But the report claims Benitez, who managed Chelsea on an interim basis following the departure of Roberto Di Matteo last season, is also keen.
Benitez endured a turbulent reign at Stamford Bridge. He struggled to win over the Chelsea fans following his rivalry with the west London club during his time as Liverpool boss.
But it ultimately ended on a high as the Spaniard guided the club to the Europa League title and a top four finish in the Premier League.
Still, he remains unpopular with many at the club and a move for Mata, a fans' favourite and two-time Chelsea player of the year, would ruffle a few feathers.
The report goes on to make clear that Benitez, who has license to strengthen this month under club president Aurelio De Laurentiis, has not made an approach to sound out Mata's availability.
Reports earlier this week claimed Benitez had made a formal offer for Mata, but this is reportedly not the case.
Benitez reportedly also wants a defensive midfielder, another defender and a new left-back.