Marino says he tried to sign the Pole six years ago.
"I first saw Lewandowski in 2007," Marino, now at Atalanta, told Il Mattino. "He was a youngster at Znicz Pruszków, a Second Division Polish side.
"We were in pre-season in Austria and the small Eastern European teams were used as sparring partners during the summer.
"Our scouts had pointed him out and I went to watch him in action. He was 18, had a good physique, some good touches even if he was a bit rough. I was interested.
"Znicz wanted 500,000, but we decided to keep following him. We then chose to sign him, but the player, and his people, decided to stay in Poland and they accepted a move to Lech Poznan.
"We continued to follow him until 2009, but Lech wouldn't let him go. On Wednesday, I yet again understood that we were very close to a great signing."